Vandergrift High School begins first year

Hannah Jane DeCiutiis

      This past school year, a significant number of former Cedar Park freshmen said goodbye to many close friends and acquaintances as they took on the daunting task of becoming the first graduating class of Vandegrift High School. They were joined by the former eighth graders of Canyon Ridge Middle School to form a two-class high school.  The high school building itself has yet to be completed, and as such the students are currently being housed at Four Points Middle School for this first transitional year.

       “It’s a little weird; it’s like being back in middle school even if you’re not. I’m still trying to get used to it,” said Joe Grismore, sophomore at VHS.

     Freshmen entering Vandegrift High School share an upbeat attitude with the sophomores, especially because they will remain with their peers as they open up Vandegrift. Though there would be no upperclassmen, some freshmen expressed initial concern about getting a normal high school experience.

      “I was excited because all my friends would be going, but I was nervous about how established it would be,” Sara Gravely, freshman said. “However, we get to start all the new traditions which is a really cool opportunity.”

     The students have five minutes in between each class and are not allowed to leave the school cafeteria in the mornings until they are released for class.

     “It isn’t a big deal, but it’s the little things that take away from the high school experience. With the middle school building [has come] a middle school attitude,” Taylor Watson, sophomore, said.

     Because of the proximity of Four Points Middle School to Vandegrift High School, students participating in the marching band are forced to walk approximately a quarter of a mile to the band practice field for daily rehearsals. However, the program itself is doing very well despite an approximate total of 60 students, in sharp contrast to Cedar Park’s approximated 250.

     “[Band is] weird because there’s less people with previous experience to guide us,” Daniel Chen, sophomore, said.

      Others have not quite adjusted to the new feel of their activities as well. “It’s different, and it feels like the standards have been dropped a little. There are people who got into the OAP class here who wouldn’t have made it at Cedar Park,” said Grismore of the Vandegrift theatre program.

     Athletes remain optimistic about their sports, such as football. The Vandegrift football team consists of approximately the same number of players as Cedar Park’s JV team.

      “I didn’t think we were going to be good, but I love it; it’s awesome,” Dakota Prukop, sophomore football player, said.

     Now that the year has started off on the right foot, many fretting sophomores have been reassured that (while they will miss their friends at Cedar Park) they will be given an excellent high school experience at Vandegrift.

     “I didn’t expect to like it, but the school is great. I think we’re going have a lot of school spirit and overall a really good school and a great program,” Prukop said.

      “I was mostly worried about friends because most of my friends are from Cedar Park, but my hopes for the new school have been totally fulfilled,” agreed Watson.

     When asked if they wished to return to Cedar Park, most sophomores were quick to say no, instead preferring to look to Vandegrift’s bright future.

      “Right now, I would say that I want to stay at Vandegrift, because I want to see where it’s going to go. My [friend] was in the first graduating class at Cedar Park, and she said her class got really close, and that by the time she was a senior it was cool to see everyone grow up together,” Watson said.

     So while students at Vandegrift have a potentially difficult road ahead in their high school careers, they can look forward to the opportunities to leave their mark on the school and their successors.