Kamran Jillani, ’17
The class of 2019 is well into its third month of classes at BHSEC. The freshmen started off the school year with their first Writing and Thinking Workshop. Unlike last year, this year’s freshman class was not isolated into their own writing and thinking groups but was instead put into groups that contained upperclassmen as well. Surprisingly, many freshmen didn’t feel intimidated with being in a group of older students. Freshman Sam Vaillancourt said, “I wasn’t really intimidated because I got to spend time with a lot of the seniors and it turns out a lot of them are really cool.”
The majority of this year’s freshmen class comes from Brooklyn, specifically from the Park Slope, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens neighborhoods. Many students also come from Manhattan, and the Bronx. Students from Queens, Staten Island, and Long Island are scarce. A common displeasure shared by many of the freshmen is getting used to the 15-minute walk from the Delancey/Essex and 2nd Avenue subway stations. Charles Hale, a ninth grader, said, “The 15-minute walk from the subway is really annoying but there isn’t really anything we can do about it.”
This year’s freshman class is one of the most diverse groups of students BHSEC has ever admitted. This is due in part because of BHSEC’s Diversity Initiative. The Diversity Initiative works to promote both diversity within the BHSEC community and provide leadership opportunities to students from diverse backgrounds. Hanan Issa, a Year 1 who is part of the diversity initivative, said, “The Diversity Initiative does extensive recruitment through open houses, summer scholars, and high schools fairs at other schools and in reported low college readiness neighborhoods.” This year’s incoming class consists mostly of Caucasians, but also great numbers of African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics.
Like previous years, freshmen are taking courses such as Conceptual Physics, American literature, History of the Americas, and Algebra & Geometry. Many freshmen are still adjusting to the seminar type structure and discussions of these classes. Many freshmen said that the discussions about racism, religion, and education that are brought up by their summer reading assignment, The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley, are helping them adjust to the free flowing discussions in their classes. Freshman Lance Sum said, “I like the seminar type discussions we have in class because we get to hear the conceptual ideas of other students.”
Since they are not allowed to go out until next semester, the freshmen can be found packed in the lunchroom during their free periods. Other students can be found participating in lively games of basketball, baseball, handball, volleyball, and frisbee in the school’s yard.
The class of 2019 is quickly adjusting to the social and academic atmosphere of BHSEC. Although they have only been at BHSEC for a short amount of time, their passion for learning and their involvement in various clubs is already evident.