MagPI helps transition magnet freshmen

Sept. 23, 2002, midnight | By Laura Blythe-Goodman | 18 years, 4 months ago

Two-year-old program continues its success

MagPI provides an opportunity for freshman magnet students and their parents to get to know each other as they transition into Blair's math/science/computer science magnet program.

MagPI, founded last year by 2002 graduate Samantha Henig, is continued this year by seniors Kristen Hoven and Dimitry Briskin. The program began with an introductory picnic on Saturday, September 21. The picnic provided ice-breaker games and lunch for the students, and a chance for the parents to mingle. According to event organizer Hoven, although there are some new aspects such as the picnic schedule, much of the program remains the same.

The picnic will be one of a few activities for MagPI planned for the year. Other activities will include bowling and laser tag in addition to tutoring. The tutoring program will be "very informal," Hoven said, and will provide a list for freshmen to use "at their own discretion" of seniors available to tutor.

Freshman Margot Pass is grateful to be tutored by a seniors because of their perspective. "It sounds like it's going to be very useful to know older people in the Magnet and be able to ask them questions not from the point of view of the teachers," Pass said.

Freshman John Kim said that the seniors' experience will be helpful in aiding the freshmen. "It's helpful because they've been through the program already."

Ninth grade computer science teacher Lola Piper agrees that the experience and perspective of the seniors could be very beneficial. "Teachers have a perspective of what's happening that is somehow a little different than students'. So, seniors are able to help with whatever problems they are encountering," said Piper.

Eileen Steinkraus, the head of the magnet program, appreciates the seniors planning everything because it gave her the chance to talk to all of the parents at once, instead of answering many separate phone calls. Steinkraus is also thankful that the seniors will help the freshmen through this difficult first year with their advice. "One of the things we found over the years is that the transition from Middle School to High School is hard," Steinkraus said. "When it comes from someone who's been there, kids are more apt to listen."

The parents are also very complimentary of the MagPI program. Parent Nellie Liang is impressed with the student turnout. Liang is also thankful for the chance to arrange carpools, since magnet students can live very far apart. Parent Arindam Dhar appreciates the opportunity to talk with the other people in the magnet program. "It's great. It's a chance to interact with parents and other students," Dhar said. "I think it's a very good idea."

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Laura Blythe-Goodman. Laura is a senior this year. In her spare time, she learns how to play the guitar and talks to Emma. More »

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