By McKenna Ross and Monisha Gowda
It has the power to affect all of us. Yet, it’s not everyday that you wonder how it applies to high school. The 21st century has signaled a change in modern society, and similarly has helped in reshaping Seaholm.
Many of Seaholm’s changes are in plain sight. Class of 1982 alumni Julie Wells sees a lot of changes in the school’s building. “Some parts of the building look the same to me. They look the same and feel the same,” Wells said. “But like, by the pool, that’s brand new.” Aaron Frank, Seaholm’s current athletic director since 1998, began his Seaholm career with coaching in 1990. Frank notices change with the school’s athletic amenities. “The facility was totally different, we had a very old styled gym; it kind of had one full court, with these small shelves,” Frank said. “We had an old, small pool, a very small weight room, and grass field, which was unusable in many cases because of rain.” Wells also notes that technology has rapidly changed since her time in Seaholm, including increased computers and the CAD lab. “We didn’t have the computer labs you have now,” Wells said. Frank agrees. “When I was coaching here, Dick Rosenthal [then Athletic Director] had no cellphone, we did not have voicemail at the school, and we did not have email at the school,” Frank said. “So if a parent had a concern, a coach needed something, a booster needed something, they would work on those issues during the school day.”
Other changes at Seaholm go beyond appearances. Spanish teacher January Hladki graduated in 1998 from Seaholm. Hladki notices the change in the schedule. “When I was a student, we made a changeover from a seven period day, to a block schedule, and it was semesters,” Hladki said. “So everything was completely different in terms of its organization.”
Based on her teaching experiences in Connecticut, with the block schedule in place, Hladki regards the schedule as being interesting, due to its orientation. “It’s like you’re teaching two lessons in one class period, because you don’t see kids in between, so it was kind of an every other day thing,” Hladki said. “On Fridays, you had a shortened version of every single class to kind of make sure you had a little recap.” Hladki regards Seaholm’s transition from its initial block scheduling to trimesters as being intense. “The trimester is intense,” she said. “The trimester takes the same amount of curriculum and puts it in 12 weeks of time instead of 20 weeks.”
However, Hladki believes the trimester’s ability to give students more options is beneficial. “I think it’s nice that at Seaholm different kids with different strengths can find their pockets for success,” Hladki said. Wells associates Seaholm’s new system with an increase in academic competition. “[There was] way less pressure [then],” Wells said. “No doubt about it.”
Change has additionally affected Seaholm sports. According to Athletic Department Contest Leader Ron Notarainni, 23 years ago students were less aware of the game. “When I first started [freshman boys’ and girls’ soccer coach], boys and girls didn’t know anything about soccer,” Notarainni said. “They didn’t know anything, they didn’t have any training or any coaching…so I had to start from scratch.” Notarainni notes that now Seaholm athletes come into high school sports having prior background knowledge, and training, often specializing in one sport. Frank sees approximately 60 teams playing every single year—an increase in athlete participation and teams. “It’s [the number of athletes] been consistently growing since my time here,” he said. “When We had about 930 students, and we have about 1400 now, and the number of athletes has grown probably an even greater proportion.”
The athletic department has expanded its opportunities to students over time.
“We didn’t offer nearly the breadth, the number of sports, or the depth, the number of opportunities we have now,” Frank said. “We really value participation, so we have JV B teams in some sports and we do everything we can to create an atmosphere where we don’t cut, so some of our teams have become much bigger.”
Notarainni and Frank have also noticed growth in women’s sports.
“We offer more sports for girls, than we do for guys,” Frank said.
While Seaholm works towards bringing forth positive change with the modern generation, it preserves its values.
“Though we try to modernize the classroom or technology…we might try to change things, like dances or field day, they still exist in their core,” Flex teacher Mike Wicker said. “We add new things, and this is going to sound really cheesy, but I don’t think we’ve really lost what it means to be a Maple. The experience is different, but it has not lost its core.”
Seaholm’s change has helped reshape the school, yet it’s past has proven to equally provide enriching experiences for its alumni.
Wicker was a Seaholm graduate in 2002 and joined Seaholm staff in 2010 as a Flex teacher. He became a teacher because of his positive experiences at Seaholm.
“One of the reasons I became a teacher is I had such a good high school experience, I thought it would be great if I could do that for other students,” Wicker said. Hladki also found her experience at Seaholm to affect her decision to teach.
“Those were some of my favorite teachers, who impacted me. I thought coming back and teaching with them was an honor, and I still do to this day,” Hladki said. “This is where I wanted to be, teaching what I wanted to teach, coaching what I wanted to coach—it doesn’t get anymore American Dreamy than that.”