Your Friends Are Leaving You Before You Graduate, Sophomores. Here’s Why.


Town Morrisville

Which Sophomores are leaving?

Uma Bhat and Amelia Mendes

While many students might know about specific freshmen transferring to Green Level High School as its construction is finished up, they might not know that select sophomores — especially those moving from apartment complexes in Cary to new single-family homes on Highway 55 — will be forced to transfer to schools, including Panther Creek and Apex High School, as per the sudden repeal of the “The Stay Where You Start Policy” maintained by WCPSS.

“Before I moved, earlier the system allowed people to ‘stay where they start’, meaning that you could finish your education in a school even after you moved as long as you provided transportation — this was called Grandfathering,” Ridhima Ginkala, a rising junior at Green Hope who is involuntarily moving to PCHS, elucidates. “For example, some kids in Davis Drive lived in the DDMS area in 6th grade but later moved to the Mills Park area in 7th grade. Still, these kids got to attend DDMS until they graduated middle school. We called them before confirming our move and learned that as long as you attend 9th and 10th grade in a school, you can attend that school until you graduate, as long as you provide your own transportation. So we closed our house on March 2nd, kept our apartment in Cornerstone for a little while, and completely moved into our new house on October 1st.”

Naturally, Ginkala’s family was rudely surprised to find that her school assignment had switched to Apex High School rather than Green Hope. As she mentioned in her statement, she had called representatives at Wake County schools before moving out of her old home and was told that she would be able to finish her four years at Green Hope as per the old policy. To clarify, WCPSS told confused students if they moved they would still have a guaranteed spot at GHHS, but soon after they would switched regardless. Now that the policy has been repealed without mention, she will not be able to attend high school in the same place — and what’s particularly concerning to her is that she will have to switch during her junior year.

“I have to attend PCHS 11th and 12th grade, meaning I’m going to spend half of high school in GHHS and the other half in PCHS,” she stated.

Although students have the opportunity to appeal their school assignments, in many cases, they’ve been declined, despite citing a variety of indispensable circumstances.

“My dad said that ‘oh it will be fine, they will put you in Green Hope because you already went there for two years’. I can’t apply back. I had to appeal. My appeal got rejected,” Arnav Chugh, another rising junior, said. Arnav, who already moved from California to NC for his freshman year of high school, is all too accustomed to the feeling of leaving everything behind for a new — and, in his opinion, unwelcomed — start. “It could affect my grades and how well I’m doing at school. I have moved from California in my freshman year, I have made many friends at GH over these two years. Losing them would devastate me.  It was hard. I had friends in California too; I didn’t want to lose them but I, unfortunately, had to. So moving schools again doesn’t make sense,” he continued. “Obviously the move from California was a lot greater, however, it was a transition from middle school to high school. Moving in the middle of high school just doesn’t add up or make sense compared to moving from middle to high.”

According to Chugh, students who requested an appeal were given two minutes to make a case in front of a board of judges. Arnav’s main appeal points discussed the impact discontinuation of his course track and club track, which would, in turn, affect college admissions and his career path.

“Many courses that are given at GH are not available at Apex. I wanted to take courses such as AP CompSci and Adobe Visual Design, but they don’t exist at Apex. These courses can affect where I will go to college and my career. Also, I’m part of Green Hope Robotics. As you may know, we made it to Worlds this year. We are a pretty nice team. Leaving GH would not guarantee my position on the team. And robotics is one of my favorite extracurriculars. Also, GH has sports and clubs that are better than Apex, in my opinion. I was planning to join a couple like FBLA, Model UN, and XC.”

Many might argue that new NCSSM Unicorns also might face the same circumstances, but it is important to consider that their class consists of students that have all switched schools. At WCPSS public schools, however, transferring during junior year means that students who have to start from scratch in terms of extracurriculars and classes must compete with those who have built their resumes over all four years.

Even though Arnav’s appeal points might sound consistent with what several students might say, special cases, including the forcible transition of a blind elementary schooler from the only school he knew the floor layout of, prove that WCPSS’ appeal process might not be as forgiving as one would assume. When asked about what it would take to keep a student at the same school, WCPSS did not provide a response.

Ginkala and Chugh both did not cite any issues regarding self-transportation, and both stated that they had moved in prior to their new assignment postings. Both have come to school on time during the time that they have attended Green Hope living in their new houses.

At the same time, the rapid growth of the Triangle also contributes to ever more increasing burdens on current public-school infrastructure. Green Level, where former Principal Ms. Summers transferred this past winter, was built in an attempt to alleviate the stress of too many students in each classroom and strains on the buildings themselves. Still, transferring upperclassmen — especially after promising that they would be able to complete their four years — harms individual students and their chances to succeed academically.

When asked what he felt the WCPSS should do, considering how the rising junior class is currently one of the largest classes at Green Hope, Arnav responded by saying, “Honestly, they should let people go to school where they have been assigned first and not move them around” and that he’d personally like Wake County to reconsider his appeal and “move me [him] back to GH”. The anticipated question if “Why you? At GH, will you ‘prove yourself’?” was answered with, “Yes I will prove myself. I will prove it by my grades, the clubs I join, and the leadership I show. I deserve to go here. I was not able to join many clubs because of personal issues, but now I am determined to join them. GH has become my home since it has supported me by providing me with great friends, reliable teachers, and an outstanding sports program.”

Ginkala agreed. “I don’t care if they give me an option between Apex High and Panther Creek. I just want to finish my four years at Green Hope like I was assured.”

To find what school your current house and new house are zoned for, visit this map and the newest reference guide published by The Town of Morrisville.