COCOA and CRAM gives freshmen help for finals


Niki Gray

(From left): Jake Oswald, Neil Yotsuya and Zachary Knight, freshmen, study biology concepts. They were receiving study help in preparation for finals as a part the COCOA and CRAM event.

As the first semester of the school year draws to a close, freshman are faced with their first set of semester finals. To aid the transition into finals and direct freshmen in their studies, the Freshman Transition Team (composed of three teachers and an administrator) created COCOA and CRAM, an event that paired freshman learners with students from National Honor Society. The occasion attracted 24 NHS members and approximately 80 freshmen.

“We’ve been thinking of ways to make freshman more successful, and this was one of our ideas for helping them prepare for finals,” Donna Servignat, world language teacher and member of the FTT, said. “They can get some advice from older students who know what finals are like, so maybe they can reduce their stress level and not be as worried about finals.”

The night began at around 6:30 p.m., when NHS students and overseers set up classrooms and tables. At 7 p.m. freshman participants were lining up next to porch A1 to sign in with their names and two topics of study they would like to review. Individual classrooms on porches A1 and E1 were dedicated to one subject of many freshman studies, such as Biology, English, Spanish, World History, Algebra, Advanced Placement Human Geography, etc.

Within rooms, at least two NHS students gave brief presentations about studying their respective subjects effectively. For a half hour, NHS representatives were available for questions as freshman reviewed material.

“They (the NHS students) aren’t necessarily there to give students answers, but instead help students find those answers, find out where and what you need to study, and prioritize and what they need to study,” Servignat said.

At 7:45 p.m. participants received cookies and hot chocolate as a study break, then returned to rooms afterwards and concluded studies at 8:30 p.m.

“I’m very satisfied, considering this is the first time we’ve ever run the event and we publicized it only through [principal Lou Bailey’s] parent email and at Parent Night,” Mark Martens, assistant principal and member of the FTT, said. “We had a really good turnout and hopefully the kids get a lot of benefit from it. If we do it again second semester, hopefully word will travel and more kids will take advantage of it.”

COCOA and CRAM was advertised across the school through numerous flyers and announcements, including a notice at a recent NHS meeting. Should there be a second COCOA and CRAM next term, it will be publicized through several emails and more word-of-mouth, according to Martens.

Still, the small number of freshmen who participated may have enhanced the experience; several freshman found that the study environment provided by the event was especially beneficial.

“I think the good part about this is that I get away from distractions in order to study,” Jake Oswald, freshman, said. “If I have a computer or phone around me, then I won’t be more inclined to study. I can just get away from all of that and actually focus on studying and making my flashcards.”

NHS students benefited from the event because it covered their second and final service project of the school year. Some members elected to help at the event for other reasons as well.

“I like to tutor,” Abbie Bullen, junior, said. “Because the academic center was filled up, I figured this would be a good opportunity to tutor.”

Currently, administration is considering the possibility of repeating this occasion next semester as well as looking at any changes the team may make to the program.