How to Navigate MSHS According to Alyssa Holladay

Becca Heiniger, Photography Editor

Though Manitou is a small school, it can often seem a bit overwhelming, especially for new students and incoming freshmen. Upon first entering the building, everything from the school’s physical layout to the sheer amount of activities and events going on can be nearly dizzying to students who have never experienced anything of the sort before. However, one student has a firm grip on life at MSHS, and her experiences throughout high school have taught her some essential tips and tricks that any new student should know.

Alyssa Holladay (12) and her older sister, Taylor, a recent graduate from the school, have lived in Manitou Springs their entire lives, and their family is deeply entrenched in Manitou culture. Consequently, they both know the ins and outs of their school and community very well.

Being in such a small school for so long has made Holladay accustom to the pros and cons of it’s size. “[Manitou’s small size] can be frustrating when trying to get places quickly, but it also affects the social atmosphere,” she said. “Since our school is so small, it’s best to find people that you know you can trust and bond with straight away until you venture out and meet more people.”

Even though MSHS is tiny in comparison to others in the area, Holladay believes it is unique in that it offers a huge variety of inviting and accepting people and activities. “Joining clubs and playing sports is the easiest way to meet new people with common interests. I would also suggest not being afraid to interact with new people or people you haven’t talked to before in classes or the hallways,” Holladay said.

Having once made the transition herself, as well as watching her sister do so before her, Holladay has a couple tips for freshmen to make their switch from middle school to high school easier. She recommends that freshmen go to school early on the first day and physically walk to and from their classes, just to get a feel of it and to make sure they know where they’re going. She also urges freshmen to walk fast in the hallways. “There is nothing more frustrating than freshmen taking up the entire hallway while walking the approximate speed of a turtle,” said Holladay.

The switch from middle school to high school can be difficult, not just because of the atmosphere, but also because of the increased workload and difficulty that comes with high school-level courses. This change to a more demanding schedule can leave freshmen with a lack of motivation to do their work and pay attention in class, but Holladay suggests taking it seriously. “I know a lot of people who slacked off at first and ended up ruining a lot of opportunities,” she said. “The transition from middle school can be hard but it’s important to know that the work will be harder. Paying attention in class and doing homework legitimately makes a difference for your future.”

Having people around during this transition can make it a lot easier, and it doesn’t exclusively have to be friends. “Talk to your teachers and get to know them and their different teaching styles so that you can ask for help in the future. Also, gaining the respect of admin is a great way to ensure a steady and easy ride through high school. As far as coaches go, building relationships with them is easily the best thing you can do. People like this can teach very important skills like leadership and commitment that will make your future easier,” Holladay said.

As freshmen prepare to start making the trek to the top of the high school hill every morning, Manitou Springs High School hopes they will attend Freshman Orientation, which is designed around making their transition a little less rocky. It will take place on Thursday, August 24 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Prospector will also be handing out hardcopies of this year’s Freshmen Edition that will be published in the Pikes Peak Bulletin. It will include tips for high school and stories on what to expect in the coming year, so freshmen and parents are encouraged to grab a copy.