Juniors Reflect on an Academically Tough Year; Take a Look Ahead


Mainstream Staff

Photograph of Paint Branch High School on August 30th, 2022, the first day of school. This photograph not only captures the beauty of the sunrise, but signifies the beginning of a challenging yet fruitful academic year for the Class of 2024.

Sumer Elsalawi, Staff Writer

As this school year is nearing its end, one group of students in particular, the Class of 2024, is slowly but surely pushing through and preparing for senior year.

For many juniors, this ascension to “senior” status is coming up much faster than anticipated. Junior year is typically the most challenging and rigorous year academically; but senior year might be the most daunting due to the college application process, the nerves that accompany the arrival of acceptance letters, college commitment, and making time to enjoy the last ride of high school. 

Junior year has definitely made its mark on many students, and will be a year to remember, even after graduating. Some people instantly think of junior year when they reminisce about their high school days, and it is often put in its own category when compared to the other years of high school. Much like this year’s senior class, the Class of 2024 did not have a “typical” high school experience. With our freshman year being entirely virtual and our sophomore year being a year of adjustment to what had become sort of a reimagined form of school due to the pandemic, our junior year quickly intensified and showed no signs of slowing down. 

Whether it was the pressure of AP exam season (one of the most stressful times of the year), the conclusion of sports seasons, or other culminating events such as the spring concert and art show, many juniors found themselves overwhelmed by the vast amount of work and commitments. As PB junior Maya Ogbogu readied herself for AP exams in April and May, she noted, ”Balancing AP classes and volleyball outside of school is challenging, and now it’s even harder as I’m trying to mentally and physically prepare for these tests.” 

Another junior, Seifer Cushman, who played varsity lacrosse this spring, shared similar thoughts to Maya’s. He mentioned that the spring was quite “stressful since there was less time to get work done due to practices, games, and other sports activities.” He added that it was also hard because he would get home late from practice, and it was a struggle to “find motivation to do work and study when it’s late.” 

While junior year brought a great deal of pressure, it was also a memorable experience that exposed us to many of the aspects associated with being an upperclassman. Not only did it provide some new areas to think about, but it gave us an opportunity to create bonds with one another as the rigor of difficult classes and shared experiences brought us together. While looking ahead to our status at the top of the school is exciting, it is also bittersweet as it represents our final year as high school students. 

 As we head into our final summer, we look ahead to the moments that will make us – the Class of 2024 – seniors and soon graduates of Paint Branch High School. For now, we will make the most of our summer and enjoy every moment we have here, as it will fly by before we know it.