During the first and third week of December, SLA conducted admissions interviews with eighth graders around the city to select the next incoming class.
“Since SLA is a very unique place to learn, doing interviews allows us to ensure that it is the best place to learn for our students,” said Math Teacher Mark Miles. “While I believe that anyone can be successful at SLA, there are many people whose preferred learning style might be more traditional.”
Organizing the interviews involves scheduling over 1000 eighth graders spread over 4 days, with 2 sessions a day. Students and families call for months and are scheduled by Ms. Diane and the office interns.
The actual interviewing process involves many student and teacher volunteers. The student manager of the scheduling is Junior Max Marton, and the event was managed by Marton and English Teacher Larissa Pahomov
Marton was “chosen by Mr. Chase and Mr. Lehmann” last year to organize the schedule.
“I wanted to help my school, I felt that interviews are a staple of our schools foundation,” he explained. “I was honored to be asked to organize them.”
Figuring out who will do the actual interview is a process almost as complicated as getting the 8th graders organized. Students covet the chance to interview prospective students, and on the sign-up form they had to fill out a form and write a paragraph about why they wanted to interview.
“We choose interviewers based on previous experiences and what they wrote for their paragraph to get in,” said Marton. “Then we choose the writing rooms they need at least one experienced students and one or more new students.”
The process can be stressful for Marton and the staff, with some students not following directions, and others not showing for the days they were assigned.
Marton is the only one who feels stressed on these days. As current students may remember, the process of interviews is a nerve-wracking experience for all eighth graders.
“I was really nervous and waiting in the writing room was worse then the actually interview,” said 8th grader Jayne Cohen, who interviewed this year. “But I liked it a lot. It was good experience and it really made me realized how much I wanted to to this school.”
Her mother, Debbie Cohen was in agreement.
“We were excited going into it, but got a little nervous once we were there. But as soon as Mr. Lehmann got up on the counter it was better, he made everyone was laugh and we felt better. It interesting looking around looking at all the family units, and I made new friends hanging out there. It was good to see when the kids came down — they all looked pretty happy.”
Eighth Grader Anne Nordlof , who was one of the first students to interview out of her writing room, felt the same way. “I was a little nervous, but it was fine. I’m glad I didn’t have to sat the whole time I was really nervous about my interview.”
Not everybody has as smooth an experience. Freak outs or crying are not unusual in a day’s worth of interviews.
“Some kids broke down because they were nervous,” Said Freshman Nikki Adelei “I would tell them, ‘I know how it feels. I was in your position last year. Take a breather and just relax.’ ”
Senior Gil Gonzales had worked interviews every year..
“It’s important for me to give back to my school,” he said. “You’re choosing the SLA class, and that’s a big responsibility, but I can handle it.”
With just under 1000 interviews completed this year, now comes the hard part — Principal Lehmann has to decide which students to accept.