Going Public

Transitioning from Private to Public School

Roniya Johnson, Correspondent

For many parents and students, the debate over the quality of public and private schools is one that is highly contested. But as with other topics of contention, the best way for a decision to be made is to experience or know about both sides. In this case, the best way to come to a decision is by either attending both types of schools, or learning about the experience of those who have. As someone who transitioned from a private school to a public school system, I’ve always wondered what others who also experienced both, thought were major differences between the two.

Senior Caroline Bell attended Trinity Catholic High School and switched schools for her sophomore year. To Bell, one of the main differences was in average class size. “[Stamford High] has more people with bigger class sizes,” Bell said. She added that classes are harder at Stamford High School, but siad that despite this, she prefers the public school system. Her reason for leaving? “Trinity Catholic was shutting down,” Bell said.

Junior Rebecca Gordon says she left her private school for a similar reason: the school only went up to the 9th grade. Gordon chose to leave a year early because, as she said, “I didn’t want to come to public school my sophomore year; I wanted to start with everybody else.” And for that reason, she left her school, Windward Middle School, to attend Stamford High for her freshman year.

Senior Paige Cahoon, on the other hand, says she switched into the public school system after kindergarten. “I went to Our Lady Mt. Carmel Church and switched to Davenport Elementary school for first grade,” she said. Cahoon described public schools as “less strict.” She added that in public schools you don’t have to wear uniforms. Cahoon said that ultimately, her parents believed that the price they were paying for private school wasn’t equivalent to the quality of education she was receiving, so they decided that their children would attend Stamford High.

Senior Eliana Senerador attended a private school in the Philippines and switched schools last year. She says that her reason for leaving is because the government added two more years of high school, making it so that she’d have to pay for two more years (in the Phillipines, high school students must pay for their schooling unless they qualify for financial assistance). Moving here gave Senerador a chance to complete high school with a free education.

“It’s more diverse in America, and you guys aren’t as religious compared to the Philippines, Senerador said. “America is also not strict on dress code and uniforms.” Senerador explained that her high school ran from 7th to 10th grade, “so you basically graduated in 10th grade.” The recent addition of two more years prompted Senerador to move to the U.S. “When you’re approaching grades eleven and twelve you can either stay in high school if your school offers, it or you could just transfer to a university and take another exam to go to college in the Philippines,” Senerador said, adding that both options cost money.

Junior James Fahan, currently attending St. Joseph’s, has actually shadowed a friend at Stamford High. He is interested in potentially attending Stamford High, and said that his interest in making the switch stems from the fact that many of his friends attend the school and that it’ll be more “comfortable” for him. He also said that the large size at Stamford High is something that appeals to him.