Posted 6:54 AM 8/14/2012 : High school halls less intimidating for this year's SUSD freshmen
TUCSON- Students in the Sunnyside Unified School District have been back in class for about a week now and this year the freshmen at both Desert View and Sunnyside High Schools get their own campus.
"It actually helps us out a lot because we're not around the sophomores, juniors, or seniors," says 15-Year-Old Anthony Martinez.
Martinez is one of about 615 students at the new Freshman Academy at Desert View High School. The Academy is in a new 35,000 square foot building, attached to Desert View's main campus. There is also a similar campus at Sunnyside High School.
"It's like putting the little fish in the big pond, however they're in the area of the pond with netting around it, so they can see the big school, they can experience the big school, but they're still somewhat protected," Freshman Academy Principal Armando Valenzuela says.
Students take nearly all of their classes at the Freshman Academy and even eat lunch by themselves. "It keeps us away in our own little group, so it makes us pay attention more in class and not worry about running into upperclassman," Martinez says.
Each student also receives their own laptop for the year - another first for SUSD.
The district hopes the transitional phase will make the high school halls less intimidating and keep students in school until they graduate. "When everything is brand new and everything is state of the art it makes students that much more motivated to come to school and take pride in what they do on a daily basis," Valenzuela says.
Even though they're in different buildings, the freshmen are still able to participate in all after school activities at each high school.
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