FLHS Opens its Doors to the 2017-2018 Freshman Class

The doors of Francis Lewis High School were opened to four grades of students looking to start a new school year on a warm September 7. While returning seniors, juniors, and sophomores were excited to see school friends and ready to start the semester, this year’s freshmen class, a school record, was anxious to enter the school, adjust to new program cards, and start their high school career.

“My first month at Francis Lewis High School was me trying to figure out where to go for each of my classes,” said freshman Ethan Ke. “I feel excitement in the classes I take as I am able to learn new things I never knew before, and sometimes apply that knowledge to the real world around me.

Ethan Ke graduated from I.S. 25Q to become a University Scholars student at Francis Lewis through the zone program, one of approximately 1,300 freshmen in the school overall.

The challenges I expect to face in University Scholars are harder classes and more work given than regular classes of the same grade,” said Ke. “The kinds of challenges I’m interested in are ones that require me to think outside the box and out of my comfort zone.”

Student organization advisor and English teacher Ms. Contino has been working at Francis Lewis for 14 years. She thinks that this amount of students, which she was aware of before the school year started, is quite excessive, making the school “more crowded than ever and not especially safe.”

“I think that the size of the incoming freshmen class is intimidating and overwhelming,” said Contino. “I understand the reasons behind the large class sizes, but I also believe that something must be done to reduce our overall population.”

A school of over 4,500 students, FLHS continues to attract more and more students every year. The availability of language classes like Japanese and Latin appealed to students like Ethan. Such availability is what teachers like Contino believe appeals to students looking for a high school education.

“Francis Lewis offers a wide array of programs, activities and accelerated coursework,” said Contino. “We have a great reputation for good teachers and administrators. We offer the feel of a suburban school right here in Queens. Where else do you have pep rallies, SING, and over 40 clubs and teams?”

Senior Weixuan Wang chose to study at Francis Lewis because it was close to her home. Like Ke, she began freshmen year through the zone program. 

Since I was a freshman, the school grew a lot,” said Wang. “Now there are many more students enrolled, and so many more clubs and extracurriculars.”

Since her time as a freshman, Wang said her experience has been fine. Initially reluctant to step out of her comfort zone, Wang became more open to trying new things because of Francis Lewis. 

“I like the school now more than I did freshman year,” said Wang. “Also, I’m more open to talking to strangers because the school’s environment pushed me into accepting it.”

As the school year continues to unfold, this year’s freshmen look forward to what comes their way.

“I am looking forward to all of my classes,” Ke said. “I really enjoy the schedule I received since everything appeals to my interest as a student.”

As for the students and staff who have been here before, they have advice for this year’s freshmen as they continue their high school experience. 

“Do the right thing early,” said Contino. “It is hard to recover from a bad first year, and when you get to be a senior, you will wish you took ninth grade more seriously. Your future starts now, so don’t squander it.”

As a senior at Francis Lewis, Wang shares Contino’s sentiment. 

“Don’t think you can just mess around freshman year,” Wang said.  “In the long run, [your] freshman year GPA may count in some circumstances. Always be your best self!”