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To a Grade 9 From an LIB

Dear Grade 9s,

First of all, a big warm welcome to Bishop Reding Secondary school. We, especially the Leaders in Black, are overjoyed to have you here for our final and your first year of high school. While the road ahead may seem daunting it is in fact full of crazy fun adventures and so many new friends you’ll be drowning in the good times. Yes, that may sound cliche and high school is not always smooth sailing, but consider this a LIB assurance that there will be plenty of wonderful memories to look back on.

Some of you may be wondering what a Leader in Black is? We are what you would call ambassadors of the school who are here to support you and provide guidance throughout your high school experience. We help to run certain events, promote community and wellness as well as answer any questions you may have. Feel free to approach any one of us at any time and we would be delighted to provide our ‘expert’ advice.

Now, how did we get here? We were once you, coming into high school with no clue how life was going to be like in this two story building, sometimes with few or no friends. Personally, it was a lot of trial and error, a lot of lates nights and frustration but then again a lot of satisfaction, success and pride. In the beginning, things are overwhelming so here are some tips to help you combat the stress of secondary school (that again sounds cliche but would seriously help):

Pay attention in class!!

Try to sit near the front of the class, take notes in class and rewrite them at home in greater detail (this will prepare you for tests and assignments plus show your teacher you are prepared and have initiative)

Study well in advance for your tests

Teachers will usually give you an outline a week before the test date. Use this time!!! Make notes, quiz yourself, create practice tests, watch related videos and study every night. Even if it’s only for 30 minutes each night, spreading it out over 7 days will produce better results than cramming the night before.

Ask questions!!

The LIBs are not the only ones happy to help you out, teachers too! Whenever you are confused ask questions. Teachers also want to see you trying to help yourself so ask your peers and try to work things out first.

When it comes to assignments, read over the criteria and ensure you understand what is being asked of you. Unfortunately, effort is not rewarded so working super hard on an assignment you’re doing wrong is a huge pain.

Most importantly, try to have fun :)

Yes it is true that high school will be challenging but it is also an amazing opportunity to make new friends, explore academic/personal interests and learn more about who you are as a person.

When I was in grade 9 I attended every single event the school put on, which I am extremely grateful for. Not only did I meet so many great and like minded people but I found out what events I am interested in such as Murder Mystery Night! Homework and tests were trying but participating in these events made it a little more tolerable.

Hopefully, if you follow this advice high school won’t be as intimidating as you originally thought. While, I myself did not always pursue these goals I made it out alive and so will you. To be completely honest, there is not much I can say that will successfully make your experience here perfect, you simply have to go out there and experience it for yourself. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, a few bad grades may be disheartening but use it as motivation to do better next time, talk to other people (seriously just do it) and fake it until you make it. Even if you do not feel confident in yourself or abilities, pretending as though you do actually helps a lot! That is how I got through most of my tests and even the interview to become a Leader in Black.

Overall, these four years will guide you on your journey to self discovery but will also confront your ability to deal with high pressure situations and persevere through difficult times. The friends you make will help you through these times and lay the foundation for some of the most meaningful relationships you’ll have in your life. It won’t always be fun and it won’t always be easy but rest assured you have a fantastic support system readily available to help you with anything you need.


Emma Dorval, A Leader in Black

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