Former Cross Keys Students Acclimate Themselves with Bulldog Style

Former Cross Keys high school students acclimate themselves with the transition to seven classes as well as  struggle to feel a part of the Chamblee community.

For many former Cross Keys students, coming to Chamblee because the Dekalb County redistricting was a new beginning. Most left friends behind, and knew few people here. As they left, they knew that they were moving on to a place where they could further their education.

“I’m looking forward to learning more here,” said sophomore Blanca Saldana.

Likewise, the families of the new Chamblee students had a mixture of generally positive feelings when they learned that their children were coming to Chamblee. Some were shocked or excited, but most were happy that their children were coming to Chamblee. Several were glad about the switch from the alternating four classes per day of block schedule.

“[My family] liked [Chamblee],” said Saldana. “They like that we have seven classes, which means that I would learn more and that the school was nicer.”  

Saldana’s parents liked how new the building was and that Chamblee had higher test scores than Cross Keys.

Before they came to Chamblee, most Cross Keys students had preconceptions of what Chamblee was like.

“I heard it was a great school,” said sophomore Yammile Garcia. “So that’s good. I really like the building,”

Also, many students have noticed the diversity compared to at Cross Keys.

“At Cross Keys they have mostly [Latinos],” said Garcia.

In addition, the academic environment was met with mixed reviews. A number of students found the classes harder than at Cross Keys. There is more homework and more pressure from teachers. The adjustment from block schedule has also added to the pressure.

“[The academic environment is] a little bit harder with the little amount of time we have in each class,” said sophomore Diane Roche.

Others have found little differences and see the classes as fairly similar.

“[The academic environment] seems really easy,” said sophomore Matthew Anderson. “My classes are easy, my core [classes] are easy. My social studies teacher, [Ms. Gillian], she’s cool.”

Furthermore, Chamblee is a big school and some Cross Keys students worried about navigating the building when they first got here. One was shocked by the number of stairs. In terms of populace, Cross Keys had more students, so the number of students now at Chamblee wasn’t a huge concern.

“[Stairs] take too long to get up,” said Anderson. “The stairs are ridiculous.”

At Cross Keys there was only one floor and little elevation.

Meanwhile, even though the Cross Keys students have joined the Chamblee community, most don’t feel a part of it.

“Cross Keys [students] hang out with each other,” said Anderson. “You barely see any other Cross Keys kids go out to, like, meet some other people. You don’t really see that.”

The language barrier of some students has presented a problem. When the students cannot communicate in English well, it  has sometimes held students back from interacting with people outside of their immediate friend circle and those who speak their language.  

However, several former Cross Keys students have joined clubs. Some signed up for clubs such as Interact, Debate, Future Business Leaders of America, and Women of Distinction and are hoping to join some sports later on.

“The main reason [I joined clubs] was because I feel left out [at] times, like I don’t belong at this school,” said Garcia.

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