By DAVID GREEN
Loren Delmonico knows he made a lot of bad choices during his first two years of high school.
He also knows that he’s learned a lot from his mistakes.
He was talking about that situation with Morenci High School teacher Deb Hojnacki when it came to him that he wished he knew then what he knows now.
That’s when the idea was born. Loren and a few other high school students would walk down the hall to the middle school and offer some advice to the eighth grade students.
The voice of experience came from him and classmates Tequoia Jarrell, Major Graham, Phoenix Duncan and Kenny Maxfield.
“In about four months you’re going to be in high school,” the eighth graders were told. “How many of you are afraid of failing in high school?”
There was a good show of hands, but the older students had a simple solution: Do your homework.
A large part of their talk focused on grades.
“Grades. Seriously, guys, I can’t stress it enough,” said one high schooler. “If you get off to a bumpy start, it will be so hard to get back up. You don’t want to start off with Cs and Ds.”
“You guys have a month left. If you’re not doing your homework now, change that. Grades are so important. Find out what study methods work for you. Flash cards are great.”
“Never, never take a zero. The teachers frown upon that. A 50 percent is so much better than a zero.”
And don’t even think about cheating, they said, because you’re going to get caught.
“I got busted my freshman year and now they watch me. Teachers are smart. They know more than you.”
“I got caught cheating so I failed the class. Now I have to take it again with freshmen.”
And don’t wait until the last week of class to start thinking about raising your grade. That just isn’t going to work.
There’s a lot of help available if you seek it out—from teachers, from tutors and from some coaches.
“Don’t go into high school with a big head. Don’t give the seniors a reason not to like you.”
“Don’t walk into class with your hood up and your head down. Your body language is pretty important. The teacher isn’t going to get a good vibe from you.”
“Even if it’s the worst day of your life, you still have to make some effort. You can find a way to cope with your issues. You need to in order to be successful.”
“If you’re ashamed of what you’re doing, you shouldn’t be doing it. If you’re doing something wrong, everybody in town is going to know about it the next day.”
“It’s important to be involved. Clubs and sports are fun. It’s really important to be part of something. It helps you be successful. It helps you feel good about yourself. You can be a new person going into your freshman year.”
“Why not skip school occasionally? Good luck to you in geometry if you miss a couple days.”
But don’t let all of these warnings put you on edge.
“We’re not trying to scare you. We’re trying to make you see how these four years impact you life. There are so many things to look forward to in high school.”
“If you’re doing well at school, your whole life will go better.”