PA students meet new people during student exchange with Bayside High School

Avery Goodstine, Staff Writer

By Avery Goodstine

PA students had the opportunity to get involved with other high schools by participating in the high school student exchange. Last year, the exchange was between Cox and PA. This year, the students were able to see what a day at Bayside is like.

Junior Alex Hakim enjoyed experiencing the day in a new environment, surrounded with different people.

Hakim was paired with a junior from Bayside in the Health and Sciences Academy. “That was fun,” she said, “but it was definitely a little different because she was in AP calc, and I don’t do math.”

Some PA students were able to go to Bayside for a day as well as hosting a Bayside student here at PA for a day.

“We started off the day and all met in their SCA sponsor’s room and we had a little get together breakfast and then we went to all of their classes for the day,” said Hakim.

Junior Francisco Perez was with his best friend since elementary school, Mia Lopez. “She is the Bayside junior class president this year and just got elected for next year so that was really fun,” he said.

Sophomore Grace Yonker was paired with a Bayside cheerleader. “I’m a cheerleader here, so we made lots of connections and we had tons of friends who had trained together,” she said.

Perez thoroughly enjoyed his time at Bayside and was excited to see all the diversity they have there. “I think that is one of the things that makes Bayside, Bayside, because there are so many different talents, ideas, and activities going on,” he said.

Hakim liked having her student here at PA because “we had our student-faculty basketball game, so we were always doing something at some point in the day.”

Perez feels that the basketball game created a hectic schedule, “but then again, they were able to see what PA is all about and our school spirit,” he said.

Yonker said that “it was kind of a culture shock,” for her Bayside student to see the IB Academy, but said that “she overall had a good time seeing the different aspects of the academy.”

Hakim really enjoyed the publicity the whole student exchange was getting from just walking around around with her student. “It was really cool because bringing my student around, people were like, ‘Who’s that’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, she’s from Bayside,’” she said.

“Going into it, everyone thinks it is going to be really awkward based on the different grades or being in an academy or not,” said Hakim, “but it’s not like that and it is so easy to get involved with it.”

“I love it,” exclaimed Yonker. “You meet so many new friends and grow bonds. I’ve talked to so many new people.”

Perez highly recommends this opportunity to other students because it really breaks stereotypes and has the ability to unite the schools.

“You are able to see that our school is very similar to Bayside and it is really cool being able to be in another student’s shoes,” he said. “You see that their school day isn’t all that different from yours. That day, I think the students from Bayside left with a love for PA.”