Going into high school is a big adjustment for many teenagers. It can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, since there are a lot of things one cannot expect. To make things a little more expectable and exciting, Maclay hosted Final Four on Feb. 9 in the upper school. Eighth graders arrived in Langford Hall and gathered around group tables with assigned ambassadors. The purpose of Final Four is to give eighth graders a peek into high school so they know what to expect. The tradition began several years ago as a meeting at night, but the event was modified since students were not getting the best experience.

“From an Admissions standpoint, we want to showcase our upper school as we have had years where students felt like going to Leon or Chiles would be better,” Director of Marketing and Enrollment Strategies Kim McWilliams said. “By giving them a good Final Four, they get to see how awesome Maclay Upper can be and how different it is from middle school.”

After participating in ice breaker games led by the upper school ambassadors, eighth graders engaged in three separate discussions about different topics related to high school, such as FLEX, freshman seminar, clubs, athletics, arts and college counseling. In between the discussions, they also had a chance to ask the ambassadors questions. 

“If you’re going to go into high school and not know what it’s really about and what clubs to join, you just go in with a free mind of not knowing what you’re expecting,” sophomore Lily Thompson said. “By getting advice from the older kids who actually are in high school itself, they get to know more before they get to go into something they’ve never done before.”

During lunch and FLEX, groups of ambassadors guided eighth graders throughout the campus and showed them where certain things are located. Students also met the upper school teachers and heard about what different classes cover, the goals for each class and the difference between AP and Honors classes. 

“It could definitely be a lot more work than middle school, but I’m excited for it, and the teachers have prepared me a lot,” eighth grader Lauren Conn said. “I’m very excited about the astronomy class with Dr. Perry. I’m very into astronomy, and excited at the fact that they offer it.”