Eighth grade recruitment exposes a different side of Clark

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Eunice Ramilo

John Over talks about the Adobe software, After Effects.

Eunice Ramilo , Photo Editor

As the final semester of the 2016 to 2017 school year goes by, eighth graders are beginning to decide where to go for high school and where to take the next step in their lives after they graduate. Soon, they will choose a school that will give them the next best and most worthwhile four years.

Clark has always advocated itself as a high school option for incoming freshmen by holding presentations at local middle schools as well as by having an annual EXPO day. According to Assistant Principal Armene Mkrtchian, school visits for eighth grade recruitment have taken place in the past; however, the presentations were done in a different manner and current students did not talk about their experience at Clark and the improvements that they have made over the years.

This year, both students and staff members visited middle schools throughout the district to introduce Clark and its numerous opportunities available to the incoming freshman. Roosevelt, Wilson, and Toll middle schools were visited Jan. 10–12, while Rosemont Middle School will be visited Jan. 20. Mkrtchian helped organize the visits and also prepared a PowerPoint presentation that included Clark’s various career pathways such as animation, cinema and engineering.

The first day of recruitment took place at Roosevelt. Once the auditorium was completely filled with eighth graders, Principal Lena Kortoshian gave a general overview of what Clark is about and introduced the teachers and students who had accompanied her. Following Kortoshian’s introduction, other Clark staff members discussed the fields they teach and how they are experienced enough to give their students the skills they need for the real world. It was also during this part of the presentation that Team 696’s award-winning robot named Banshee was shown to the audience as an eye-opener to the opportunities given by Clark’s engineering program and FIRST Robotics.

Eunice Ramilo
David Black presents Banshee, Team 696’s robot, from the 2015 to 2016 school year.

After presenting the Clark’s academic environment, it was Mkrtchian’s turn to bust some common myths: Clark has a restrictive dress code, Clark is only for the “smart” kids, Clark is boring, etc. In proving these myths wrong, Mkrtchian wanted to show the audience that Clark is not as bad as some people may make it seem, and they should not be afraid of making it an option for their future. “Our goal as a school is to make sure that students understand what their high school options are and to make informed decisions,” Mkrtchian said. “Our other goal is to make sure they understand what an awesome school we are.”

As the presentation came to a close, it was the Clarkies’ turn to speak about their first impressions of high school and how those first impressions changed as they found a sense of belonging in friends as well as in various clubs and programs.This gave a chance for the eighth graders to hear the student perspective. It was also an opportunity for current Clark students to reflect on their high school life so far. Junior Karin Najarian said that she was able to look back at her high school experience and how that experience would have changed if she didn’t come to Clark. Now that she is Vice President of the Team 696 robotics team, Najarian has become more eager to share about Clark to the community. “The main point that I tried to convey to the eighth graders was that there are lots of opportunities that are presented to you at Clark that you can use to try different things and find your interests,” she said.

According to Mkrtchian, Clark will continue to hold eighth grade recruitment sessions in the future and the administration will review what went well during the presentations and how they can better them for upcoming years. “This is the first year we had many people presenting…we had [student-made] videos and live demonstrations that made [the presentation] interactive,” Mkrtchian said.