Graduating Seniors offer Advice to Incoming PHS Students


Lilia Potter-Schwartz, PaperClip Staff/Writer

Alexander Graham Bell once said, “When one door closes, another opens.”  While the Scottish-born inventor may have been referring to one’s individual path, the same may be said for the doors of Portsmouth High School.  

As 264 PHS graduating seniors bid their farewell, 251 rising freshman students are excited (and nervous) to enter the high school this Fall.  With four years of wisdom under their belt, PHS graduating seniors offered advice to the incoming students.  A fair warning that as with most advice, the following is usually “easier said than done.” 

Forget Fears & Forge Friendships

With students matriculating from four middle schools across the Seacoast area, there is no doubt that each incoming freshman will encounter new faces and personalities.  Rather than perceiving the unknown sea of students as scary, ride the wave and enjoy the surf.  

Senior Hannah Westlake describes, “It is important to remember that everyone is in the same place mentally about being nervous to make friends freshman year.”  Senior Emma Murphy adds, “In classes, you might not have any friends.  But that is the perfect place to start.”  

Meeting people, whether through classes, extracurricular activities, or even a shared path in the hallway can be scary, no doubt.  Remember to start with an introduction, learn about shared interests, and overcome preconceived fears.

As cliche as it may sound, try new things

The range of extracurricular activities is unparalleled at PHS.  As incoming students transition from middle to high school, involvement in clubs and sports may serve as an unobstructed avenue to meeting new people and finding one’s niche.  

Murphy, who is now president of the PHS ECO club, recalls her initial involvement.  “When I got involved with ECO Club freshman year, I loved it.  I didn’t know anyone in the club, but the upperclassmen totally included me.”  

Eva Vardell adds, “Everyone is just as new as you are, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.”  Whether that means joining Summer Band Camp, cross-country preseason, or running for Student Council during the first weeks of school, it is never too early to pursue your interests at PHS.  

Grades matter, and so does balance

Balancing academics, extracurriculars, and friendships may be one of the most challenging aspects of high school.  However, acknowledging that these skills of balance and prioritization are key to almost every endeavor throughout one’s life, high school is the perfect place to master one’s time management.  

As incoming students consider their next four years of high school, they should take into account their goals and values.  Westlake describes that without the pursuit of academic or extracurricular interests, “school work loses meaning and you become drained very quickly.”  

As students adjust to finding the balance between their interests, it is important to remember that they are not alone in their transition from middle to high school.  Senior Jaden Moore says, “Take your time and don’t rush the transition into high school.  Always be sure to talk to other people as they’re going through the same thing as you are.”

A Couple Final Pointers

“It is okay to fail; know that even if you do, it is just a step closer to where you are gonna be.   One failure is not gonna stop you from achieving your dreams.  It’s gonna help you” – Senior Dante Scarlotto

“Don’t take your time here for granted” – Senior Jack Bussiere

Best of luck to all the graduating and incoming PHS students.  Go Clippers!