Griffin Academy Bridges the Gap
NWECHS Freshmen Prepare for High School, College Life
Posted on 08/04/2022
This is the image for the news article titled NWECHS Freshmen Prepare for High School, College LifeThis week a new crop of freshmen at Northwest Early College High School took the next steps in their academic careers, crossing the bridge from middle school to becoming both high school and college students.

The Griffin Academy, formerly known as the Bridge Program, is an opportunity for freshmen to get a head start to knowing their campus and teachers prior the start of school for the rest of the student body.

The week-long academy provides programming geared towards instilling a service-oriented mindset, building camaraderie, teaching foundations for successful time management and setting expectations on what it means to be a Griffin.

“This week is not all about the books. We wanted them to come in and really start to develop a sense of ownership of the campus,” said chemistry/geology teacher and lead coordinator of the Griffin Academy Danielle Zeh. “Students were a little shocked at first because this is not your traditional first day of school.”

Zeh said that starting on day one of the academy, the cohort of 112 freshmen were put to work, getting a jumpstart on the mandatory 40 community service hours needed before earning their diploma or associate degree. Some were providing service out in the community while others helped clean up the campus or assisted teachers in preparing their classrooms.

The group spent the rest of the week in various sessions getting to know their classmates and preparing them for what to expect as NWECHS students.

“The group started out the week very unsure and are now more interactive with each other. The academy teaches them how to behave as young adults as well as provides the skills and tools to be successful early college students,” Zeh said.

Upperclassman also had the opportunity to participate in the Griffin Academy by serving as mentors to the new class. For senior Aitiana Mondragon it was a gratifying experience getting to serve as a mentor and share some helpful information and tips with the mentees.

“It is always a pleasure to help the new students and offer them genuine advice. I appreciated that when I first came,” said Mondragon. “I think the academy is great. It prepares freshmen for the basics like time management which is very important here and allows them to build relationships with their teachers and one another. They also learn who they can talk to when they need something or need advice.”

The Griffin Academy concludes this week. The start at NWECHS for all students is Monday, Aug. 8.