Amanda O’Dea and Daniel Xuereb, Editors-in-Chief

The 2018-2019 school year has had one whirlwind of a start. With the Welcome Back Rally, spirit days, a fire drill, and Mills Mania already behind us, Mills students have been hard at work, both in the classroom and out. From sports fields to lab tables to center stage, students have launched into the new school year at full force.

When Principal Duszynski sat down with Thunderbolt Editors-in-Chief Daniel Xuereb and Amanda O’Dea, she agreed, claiming that the opening of this school year has been “the best she’s seen in twenty years.”

“This year,” Duszynski remarked, “has been especially positive.” She has noticed that students seem to be “in a good place.” Students are focused on school work, but also excelling outside of class in their various extracurriculars. Everyone is getting their work done, and Principal Duszynski could not be more impressed.

With the increase in positivity on campus, students are also engaging in “less risky behavior” than in past years. When students stay out of trouble, their grades, their focus, and their ability to achieve consistently improve. This ability to achieve is what truly transforms a high school campus, allowing students to be their best selves and reach their fullest potentials.

On that note, students have also gotten along well this year. Little disagreements and drama have reached way to counselors, and students are working out more issues on their own. Duszynski attributes this to the hard work of students, who continue to remain diligently focused on their work. When students are focused, they feel better about themselves and are less likely to stir up unnecessary disputes.

While Principal Duszynski is thoroughly impressed by the hard work students have put out this first grading period, her expectations remain even higher for the remaining months looking forward. She explained that administration is working on multiple new initiatives this year.

One of these initiatives was inspired by Social Justice Month last year. Administration and faculty are working to be “stronger advocates for equity in classrooms,” ensuring that each and every student receives the support they need. That might mean extra tutoring help in the library, a call home to parents, or placement into a support class such as the Freshmen SAIL Academy. This way, all students will have the best opportunity to succeed, no matter differences in academic ability, background, or any barriers they need to overcome.

Meanwhile, administration and faculty continue to work on destroying false perceptions of Mills students by finding “counter narratives.” It has become popular notion across district middle schools that students at Mills are terribly stressed out, over laden with homework and responsibilities. While we, the Mills student body, know this to be untrue (as it is indeed possible to go through Mills stress-free), this perception can be damaging to students. As a way to counteract such falsities, administration looks for students who do not fit the stereotype to use as “counter narratives.” It is an interesting idea, and will hopefully help the community see that Mills students are healthy, happy and hardworking, inside the classroom and out.

Overall, it is clear that the Mills student body is stronger than ever this year. And with much of the year ahead of us, Principal Duszynski looks forward to seeing what else we will accomplish during Mills’ 60th year of excellence.