Cocoa and Cram


Ashley Schenk

Throughout the year, Panther Crew provides a variety of fun and educational experiences for their freshman, like tailgates and movie events. At the end of the fall semester, things get increasingly more challenging and academic, so The Panther Crew hosts a study session for the freshmen so that they can prepare for their first round of finals. The Panther Crew hosts a variety of other events for the freshman throughout the school year to help them get used to what high school is all about.

This study session happens in the high school commons accompanied by hot cocoa to fit the cold weather. The Panther Crew leaders tutor and help out the freshman they have been working with all year. They help the freshmen with their classes and any struggles that come along with finals.

During Cocoa and Cram, junior and senior-level Panther Leaders tutor freshmen.“As a Panther [Crew] leader, I think it’s good that we are made up of all levels because then we have many possibilities to have kids [tutoring] that [have experience] in all classes the freshmen are taking,” Senior Alan Botello said.

Panther Crew leaders make sure that the Cocoa & Cram is not just a few hours of binge studying with freshmen as everyone desperately tries to shove a semester’s worth of classes into their brains. Rather, Panther Leaders take time to teach the freshmen learning strategies and tips on how to handle the stress that comes with the end of the semester.

“The Panther Leaders try and emphasize how to not make finals seem as scary as the freshman seem to think they are,” Botello said. “We want to teach them to time manage, stay organized, and breathe.”

The freshman enjoyed getting to work with upperclassmen because it provided them with insight from people that have experienced finals many times before. The leaders understand that hearing it from high school students is sometimes less pressure and less scary and so they wanted to provide their thoughts. “Getting to talk to the upperclassmen about their tips and tricks to handle finals and all this stress has helped me a lot,” Freshman Chloe Wilson said. “They taught me to time manage and emphasizing scheduling for each subject.” Wilson believes that the Panther Leaders did a good job helping the freshman work with many of the problems they were facing.

“I had a lot of questions, not just about my classes but about the testing environments and how it worked when it came to testing day,” Wilson said. “The leaders I talked to had all the information I needed and while I was still scared for my first time taking finals I was definitely calmer than before.”

The leaders do this all for the freshman for a variety of reasons, but perhaps the biggest reason is that members of Panther Crew want to make an influence.

The events the Panther Leaders put on are to improve the generations coming into the high school. “We do this because we want to inspire the freshman to do big things from the start,” Botello said. “They are within the school for the next four years and we want them to make the most out of it.” The Leaders want to push an idea that high school is supposed to be fun, but also a place to put in work and sometimes both those things can happen at the same time. That’s the mentality Panther Crew tried to demonstrate during Cocoa & Cram. “I think they did a good job at showing that studying for finals didn’t need to be a rough time,” Wilson said. “The environment they provide emphasizes the fact we need to relax, and that it won’t be that bad.”