By Eve Nevelos, Editorial Staff ‘24
At Indian Hills, Teens Need Teens, known better as TNT, is a selective, senior-only club dedicated to improving the student life in the FLOW area through promoting kindness, inclusivity, and positive relationships. Part of the Indian Hills Community is seeing TNT members running fundraisers, facilitating school events, and advising their peers.
On December 14, 2022, TNT took their annual trip to Valley Middle School to speak to the eighth graders about how to prepare for high school and what is to be expected. “The opportunity to extend our experiences to those who may feel comfort in this knowledge is the true goal of TNT,” says Erin McDermott, TNT member, “Many of us remember what it was like to transition into a highschool environment so helping in any way is a positive thing for select senior class members to do.”
Mrs. Frissora, a junior and senior English teacher, is the advisor for TNT. “This is the first time post-Covid that we were able to do outreach like this, but TNT has historically visited not just Valley but the two other middle schools in the FLOW area,” Mrs. Frissora explains, “We were excited to start it up again. The seniors in the club remembered fondly when they had Hills students visit when they were in eighth grade.”
The TNT outreach is all about teaching from experience. High school can be daunting for middle school students, especially those who do not have older siblings or family friends to talk about the difficult transition with. Mrs. Frissora comments on the importance of this program, saying, “Very soon, these middle schoolers will be the high schoolers. Ninth grade is a big adjustment from eighth, and we know the younger students may have a range of emotions, from anxiety to excitement, about making the transition. The seniors in Teens Need Teens (TNT) hoped to help dispel some misconceptions about high school, to provide encouragement, and to provide a fun and safe space to ask questions.”
Liam Gallagher, TNT member, added, “We talked about our own personal experiences with the adjustment from middle school to high school, as well as advice for them on how to make high school as enjoyable and successful as possible. Reaching out and talking to these eighth graders was not only a great way to set their expectations for high school, but also ensure they are well equipped for success.” Not only is discussing the social and academic challenges of this transition important for setting expectations, but it can increase preparedness and confidence, two key factors that can be gained from these conversations. These factors increase the likelihood of success and high attendance rates throughout freshman year. Students who prepare for high school by speaking with peers and trusted adults are more likely to develop positive relationships with adults, according to Oregon GEAR UP, a program from Oregon University which provides academic preparation coaching to educators.
At Valley, the “TNT members shared the various clubs and sports they participate in, shared stories of their own successes and challenges transitioning to high school, and gave advice spanning from how to get involved, how to manage your time, and how to deal with the new level of indepence they’ll encounter in ninth grade. After a panel discussion and introduction, with a special performance by IHTC from the fall play No One Is Alone, TNT and Valley students broke out into small groups to play games and have a small-group Q&A,” Mrs. Frissora recounts. The end shared goal of the TNT trip to Valley Middle School was to assist the next class of high school students, whether it be at Indian Hills or elsewhere, in feeling the comfort this community has to offer.