Advance students placed in higher-level classes

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While normal middle school students head to their local middle school in the morning, three unique eighth grade students head towards Hays High School.

Eighth graders Tanner Eiland, Henry Jiang and Zach Wagner are taking an advanced track in mathematics, coming up to the high school every morning to take Advanced Geometry instead of eighth grade math or Alegbra one.

“I started on the advanced track in sixth grade when Mrs. Leo told me I did an extraordinary job on some test, and eventually moved me to seventh grade math,” Eiland said. “Then I got to go to algebra in seventh grade, which made me eligible for geometry my eighth grade year.”

The other students on the advanced track were all moved up a grade in math by their teachers. Wagner started even earlier.

“My teacher put me in an advanced math class in third grade,” Wagner said. “And it has been that way ever since.”

Eiland believes he is good at mathematics because of the general concept of the subject.

“Math has more of a definite answer than other subjects,” Eiland said, “I can treat a problem like a mystery that you have to solve.”

Other than the love for math, for some, hard work is the key to understanding.

“Usually my classmates think I’m smart, but my friends know I’m just a hard worker,” Jiang said. “When I see small numbers I can usually do them in my head, but other than that I am not a very natural math person.”

Parents and teachers of the three students have been the driving force in pushing them to work harder and supporting them in their decision.

“I still remember my parents saying, ‘If this seems too easy for you can tell us and we can help you get to the next level,’” Eiland said.

Jiang’s parents also encouraged him to move to the advanced track.

“My parents were always very strict about my education,” Jiang said. “They wanted me to get ahead.”

The students all agreed that there are both advantages and disadvantages to be able to take a math class at the high school.

“I can get used to the high school now that I have a class here,” Wagner said. “But I have to lose electives at the middle school.”

Eiland believes the positive side of being on the advanced track is getting to go to a different place to meet different people, having a challenge in math and get an extra hour at the middle school every other day for free time.

“The negatives are being away from friends in the same grade,” Eiland said. “It’s hard on the first few days just worrying where you go and whether you will know any people in that class.”

Even though they are ahead in math, Geometry can be difficult as well.

“The hardest part for me is memorizing different theorems,” Eiland said. “But I’m glad to have something different to do than other students.”

Jiang also has a hard time in the class once in a while.

“Most days it is very boring during class and I have difficulty trying to keep my eyes open,” Jiang said. “I also have some hard homework, but I think it is worth my time.”

There are inevitable differences between middle school and high school classes for the students.

“High school classes are a lot longer and more interesting,” Wagner said.

Jiang describes middle school as ‘easy mode’ and high school as ‘insane mode.’

Being at the high school for just one class is helping the eighth graders for the next school year.

“Doing this will definitely ease the transition for me next year,” Jiang said. “I will be able to know what is expected and then reach those expectations ahead of time.”

16szhang@usd489.com

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