By Emma Moriarty
“DUDE!” “DUDEEEE!!” When hearing this conversation, one might not think the two communicating were students who attend a rigorous liberal arts school and just received an “A” in Drama for their enthusiastic participation. For students who have attended Tempe Prep for years, this type of interaction seems normal. Besides the eccentric warm up exercises students do in drama, there are many aspects of the Tempe Prep curriculum which would be considered “unique” to newcomers. For the ones who recently joined us, especially those in the upper grades, it may be difficult to adjust to TPA’s unique method of education.
First, A’ser Mostafa shares his experience on entering as a junior. A’ser comes from another academy. “I attended Arizona Cultural Academy. If I had to describe it in three words, they would be: Small, disorganized, and privately funded.” A’ser says the curriculum is Tempe Prep’s distinguishing factor when compared to his old school. “The Arts classes are new to me. I’ve never had to take art classes such as music and drama at my old school. They were just optional. I’ve received a lot of help from my music teacher, Dr.Wolfe, in this area.”
He is also grateful for how welcoming everyone has been. When asked what helped him get used to TPA, A’ser responded, “Just the friendliness of the students here, everyone’s been very welcoming and nice to me here so that’s helped out a lot.” A’ser encourages future students to embrace the Socratic Method: “Don’t be afraid to speak up in your HL class. It helps you better understand the material you’re taking and it helps your teacher get a better idea of how you articulate yourself in class.”
Gretchen Hoefer, a new senior, previously attended Mountain Pointe High School. When asked what she thought was the main difference between her previous school and her current, Gretchen responded, “TPA has teachers that are more engaged and work to make sure each student succeeds.” Gretchen acknowledges the rigorous academic environment TPA presents: “The most difficult adjustment was to take on the workload of the classes and try to catch up on what I have not learned in previous years.”
Although she came into TPA with no experience with the Socratic Method, she found the style engaging and the school’s community very supportive. “The Socratic seminar style of teaching was hard to adjust to, however the teaching gives me a new way to view scenarios and how to interpret a different style of writing. The students and teachers have really helped me to acclimate to the TPA environment.”
Gretchen offers a suggestion for students who are or will be in the same situation as she and A’ser: “For future transfer students, my advice is to be prepared to be challenged and to have people who are willing to teach you along the way.”