Back To School: What a difference four years makes

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) High School is a time of extreme growth for most people, oftentimes both physically and mentally, which creates a big gap between who someone is on their first day of freshman year and who they are as they walk across the stage for graduation. In those quick four years expectations, hopes, dreams, and even fears tend to change. To get a small sample of what kids in the Anchorage area are thinking before the first bell on August 20th we spoke to a pair of incoming freshmen and a pair of incoming seniors to get their opinions.

Leveiticus Brand and Mauri Butzke are both 17 and they are both set to begin their senior years at Dimond high school. Niko Alailefaleula is a 14-year-old who will attend Bartlett this year while Svea Berglund is a 14-year-old set to begin her prep career at West Anchorage. These four are the voices of today's Alaska teens that we will be hearing from in this story.

Most kids tend to love their summer break and that's something that hasn't changed but with the new year approaching there did seem to be positive anticipation ahead oft he first bell.

Leveiticus Brandt is looking forward to being at the top of the scholastic hierarchy as a senior saying "I'm really excited to be top dog, top of the food chain at school." Mauri Butzke seemed more interested in the communal aspect of her final year, she said: "well everybody says senior year is when your class comes together, everybody is friends."

The incoming freshmen certainly have some concerns but also seem ready to get to school, Niko Alailefaleula says he's "excited to learn new things, meet new people and play the game of football." For young Svea Berglund it's even simpler, Berglund said "I'm excited to see my friends again, pretty much that's it"

The excitement seemed to be the common theme among all four teenagers but when it got to the subject of fears and concerns ahead of the school year there were varying issues and topics to cover. The seniors are worried not only about this coming school year but where they will spend the four years after that if college is on the table. Leveiticus is taking no chances with a single application, he says "I've been told to apply to five schools because you might not get your first pick." As for his Dimond classmate Mauri testing, paperwork and preparation were at the top of her list, she says what she's most concerned about is "SAT's and ACT's that's hard and also doing all the scholarships."

The freshman has different concerns, Niko's being the most simple and relatable saying one of his big concerns is "just finding my path to class." Svea, on the other hand, had a far more existential fear, she says "I'm worried about being invisible and just kind of disappearing into everyone else, just because it's a big school."

Whether an incoming freshman or an incoming senior, it seems that while some things at high schools in Alaska have changed over the years, many of the biggest concerns remain the same.

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