Anna Cotter, Journalist

As a senior of the graduating class of 2023, more than half of my senior class is off at BRIDGE. With that being said, the significance of how many kids chose to do BRIDGE leaves most of my classes feeling rather empty. Some may say that having a smaller class is worse but from my experience so far it has been better. There are more opportunities to focus and learn, more one on one time with teachers, and less classwork. The atmosphere of the classrooms have been so much more relaxed, and I feel like the teachers are easing up on us now that more than half of our senior class is gone. Staying behind for the fourth quarter of my senior year hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would.

For those who don’t know, BRIDGE (which is an acronym for Bringing Reality Into Diverse Growth Experience) is a six week program at the end of senior year where qualifying students, based on behavior, attendance, and grades, can leave school and spend 30 hours a week in the workforce. Unfortunately, I didn’t meet the qualifications that were required to be able to have the opportunity to do BRIDGE, but many of my friends did! One of them is Jordan Townsend, who is doing her internship at Winthrop. Since Jordan is majoring in elementary education at Bridgewater in the fall, she told me that working at Winthrop has taught her a lot of useful skills that she will use in the future. She also added that she has more free time because the time that she would spend in school she is now using to work. She is using the money earned through this opportunity to save up for college. Overall, Jordan would say that BRIDGE has been a positive experience.

Colin Hansen, an IHS student, decided to not participate in BRIDGE. He was eligible for BRIDGE, but he decided to stay because of his hectic sport’s schedule and his brothers. He said, “It was easier being in one place with my brothers.”  Now that the year is almost over, he stated that he does not regret doing BRIDGE and actually enjoys school. 

My experience is slightly different from Colin’s.  I couldn’t do BRIDGE.  I dreaded staying behind while my friends left for unique experiences, but I have to be honest, staying wasn’t that bad.  One surprising benefit was getting to know some of my classmates better.  When my friends are here, I tend to talk to the same people.  Being on my own has forced me out of my comfort zone, and I think that is a good thing!

To the upcoming seniors, when the time comes to decide whether or not you are going to do BRIDGE, my advice is to do what is right for you! There are pros and cons to leaving and to staying.  Make the decision based on what is best for you and not just what your friends are doing.  Trust me; summer is just around the corner and we will have plenty of time to spend together.  Use this time for yourself!