Freshman Spotlight

We asked the class of 2026 some questions, here are their responses!

We go to school at Academic Magnet- the best High School in Charleston County- but are some teachers resting on their laurels?

We go to school at Academic Magnet- the best High School in Charleston County- but are some teachers resting on their laurels?

This school year is the first “normal” year since 2019, and the new 9th graders seem to be confident and self-assured, two very uncommon traits for freshmen. In order to find out more about our Freshman class, we designed a couple of surveys to gauge their opinions on everything from school spirit to their personal interests. They certainly had some interesting takes on Magnet, to say the least. The class of ‘26 is very opinionated and does not hold back with their harsh criticism of our school. This bold grade consists of future JV basketball players, triathletes, and SoundCloud rappers. 


Football Games

For our freshman spotlight, we reached out and asked them about their expectations for an important Magnet tradition: football games. Evie Chowdhury expects the games to be “really fun and spirited,” which I’d say is pretty accurate. Luke Zheltov is not as optimistic and he thinks the football games will be “bad.” Naomi Moses predicts we will win 67% of our games. Not sure where she got this number, but we will see if it holds true as the season progresses. We also asked the freshmen what they will be wearing to the games since dressing up in theme is crucial. We can expect to see a lot of “clothes.” Eli Mitchell told us that he is going to wear “normal clothes until he gets some magnet merch.” Some freshmen are keeping it casual and Selena Owens plans to wear her “normal attire.” Others are a little more enthusiastic about their fashion choices as we can expect to see Jonathan Kirk (student/SoundCloud rapper) in “a drippy fit,” hopefully not his crochet bucket hat. Miranda Sundin is also confident in her style and she said she’s wearing something “super swag because she’s so good at fashion.” In my opinion pre/post Football game plans can be equally as fun, so I asked the class of ‘26 their plans. While most of the freshmen’s plans include hanging out with friends, Jonathan Kirk is going to have a busy night ahead as he plans to “drop mixtapes” before the games and “succeed in school” after. Eli Mitchell told us that his brother Cooper Mitchell is his “favorite player on the team” and is the “best on the squad.” We’ll see if Cooper lives up to these expectations this year. Another student told us she thinks the football team “sucks,” except for her favorite player “McCray Wallace.” While the class of ‘26 still has a lot to work on in terms of school spirit and certainly needs some guidance, they have potential. 


What is Your Freshman Class Interested In?

After interviewing some students of the class of 2026, I have learned that they definitely have some amusing interests. From their favorite shows to their most impressionable magnet seniors, the freshman’s responses are, to say the least, wild. To start, when I asked their favorite artists, over 50% of them responded with literal painters. Although I appreciate art, not exactly what I was asking. The ones that responded correctly, mostly said Taylor Swift or Tyler the Creator, which is respectable. Their current binge shows include Downton Abbey, Gilmore Girls, and Breaking Bad. Even though these are solid shows, Jonathan Kirk shares that his is “Duck Dynasty”. No comment. 

My favorite question I asked them was what senior has made the greatest impression on them so far. Vishwa, our executive president, was a unanimous favorite. Despite Vishwa being pretty cool, it seemed that he was the ONLY senior they even know. When asked to elaborate on why Vishwa was his favorite, Riley Shelley says “I don’t know any other seniors”. So, hopefully the freshman will socialize beyond Vishwa by the end of the year. Some other freshman favorites include seniors they know from their sports. For example, Dylan Geddis, Caleb Anderson, and Spence Cox. 

Along with senior favorites, our freshman class is really enjoying their classes. Most of them favor English 1 because of Mrs. Akery because she “is amazing and creates awesome class discussions” writes Zoey Ryhne. Surprisingly, multiple freshman said that biology was their favorite. Maybe I was just awful at biology but I would beg to differ. Two students said they enjoy this class because they “enjoy the content”. Hmmm ok. They also responded with AP Human Geography as their favorite class. They didn’t have this class when we were freshman but from what I heard, it seems like a manageable AP. It seems like the class of 26’ is enjoying their challenging classes which proposes a high academic potential. 

Overall, the freshman class this year has some typical interests when it comes to music, classes, and favorite upperclassman. Although there are some questionable responses, the majority of this class seems promising.


Spirit Week

Spirit week at Academic Magnet is arguably the best week of the school year and an unforgettable experience for all. From the sounds of it, the freshmen seem to be very invested and assured in their spirit week abilities, which is an uncommon trait. I applaud them for their confident nature, but hopefully, their high hopes aren’t too high. Historically, freshmen struggle with spirit week and wall day; it’s just a fact of the matter. Will the class of 2026 change the status quo? From their responses, they think they will.

Spirit week is infamous and iconic, and the freshmen seem to have gotten this memo. Priel Puro said that he heard to dress up, or he would be “called lame by Vishwa”, and GOD FORBID anyone be called lame by Vishwa. But seriously though, you will be shunned and completely isolated if you don’t dress up. I’m not exaggerating. Hannah Collins said, “you’re a loser if you don’t dress up and people take it very seriously”. Right and right; you are a loser if you don’t dress up. It is honestly refreshing to hear freshmen with this mindset. Kate Stahle-Smith exclaimed that “it’s rigged for the freshmen to lose”. Right… it’s rigged… that’s why freshmen lose

Kate Stahle-Smith


Honestly, it’s hard to prepare for spirit week without experiencing it first, so no shame. Selena Owens said, “A bunch of kids get loud and possessed by school spirit.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. In his boldness, Henry Serano explained that “last year’s freshman (now sophomores) made a bad star wars wall.” Hopefully you don’t catch too much slander for that one; we will see if y’all do any better. Rowan Engelke heard that “freshmen walls suck.” You heard that for a reason. Marly Abdelmalek expects “to win for the first time.” I really admire the confidence and optimism. Hopefully, this will carry you through. In all seriousness though, don’t give up if you don’t succeed the first time. A common struggle of underclassmen during spirit week is participation, and I encourage you to participate even though it might be “embarrassing”. I promise it’s not as embarrassing as you think. Your classmates think so as well, as Keerthana Samuel said “If you’re cool, you can wear anything and people will think it’s cool.” This is my new motto.

Overall, I applaud the freshmen for their confidence, and it seems like they applaud themselves as well. Even though school has only been in session for a week, the class of 2026 seems to have a lot of pride. Best said by Luke Zheltov, “FRESHMEN RULE”.


Freshman Fashion

While Academic Magnet may be better than many other high schools in terms of everyday fashion, our freshman class may be the exception. Hopefully their outfits in real life are a little more original than their responses to my survey.

Most of the freshmen described their “Go-to highschool outfit” as some variation of shorts, shirts, pants, or tank-tops. While the majority of them may not be very creative, at least they’re wearing clothes to school.

  • 31% freshmen said that jeans are part of their go-to outfit.
  • 59% freshmen said they wear t-shirts 
  • 40% freshmen said shorts were integral to their outfits.
Priel Puro
Priel Puro

While this indicates that many freshmen like to blend in with the crowd, there seem to be several that stand out amongst their class! Sophia Easterbrook was nominated three times for “best-dressed freshman” due to her “cute tops and style.” Priel Puro nominated himself and referenced his “forces mid and the photo shoots to go along with it,” the photos of which he supplied me with upon further request. He also, very interestingly, mentioned that he likes to accessorize with rainbow crocs and “velvet-lined Nike socks”, apparently for comfort. Interesting stuff for sure! Kate Selvitelli and Helina Lloyd were nominated as best-dressed as well. Collin Hlavac was nominated a whopping 6 times across different categories for his style, “shoe-game,” and for being an overall style inspiration, with several different spelling variations of his last name. Needless to say, I had high hopes that I had stumbled upon our generation’s next great fashion designer or celebrity stylist! Unfortunately, Collin himself claimed that he had “pretty awful fashion sense” and speculated that his friends had nominated him as a joke. Honestly, I shouldn’t have expected anything more than this when asking this question. 

As for stylish shoes, the freshmen report that William Sander, Anhelina Lezhachova (with two nominations), Rowan Engelke, “because she’s basic,” according to Hayden Moody, Hayden Moody, “because she got swag,” according to Rowan Engelke, and finally Jack Childers, because “he’s one of the only people I know who has openly spoken about his love for shoes,” which I love! We need more people who are passionate about their interests enough to share it with those around them. Unfortunately the freshman who nominated Jack also said that “some of them are atrocious,” referencing his shoes. Hopefully this is just from a friend, but, Jack, if you’re reading this, don’t let anybody stop you from wearing shoes. You got this.

Selena Owens

When asked their opinions on their grades style in general, I received some rather strong opinions. Y’all’s classpresident, who told me his name was Jonathon Kirk, which I know is a lie, said “I think we really need to improve our fashion sense, because, walking around, everybody’s just wearing the same tank top and a pair of shorts” while wearing jeans, a gray t-shirt, a flannel shirt, and a red, white and blue crocheted thing on his head. I wouldn’t be too hurt, if I were y’all. Selena Owens despaired on the lack of accessories in her grade, claiming “Where’s the jewlery? Belts? Accesories other than shell necklaces 🙁 No variety at all,” and that “Too many of you are afraid of wearing belts. Stop- they hold your pants up.” Even though I haven’t ever bought a belt, except for a spirit week costume, I think this is great advice! From the impression I got from the freshmen responses, it seems like many might be a little hesitant to make a fashion statement, which is totally understandable. I know I am super excited to see the freshmen grow into and define their collective sense of style.


Freshman Academics 

Now that I have endured at least three years of what Magnet is most infamously known for, I wanted to see how the Class of 2026 thought of their first few weeks of our school’s academics. Deemed the #2 high school in the nation, AMHS holds itself to an understandably high standard in the academic field and as the freshmen learn to navigate all it has to offer, here are their opinions on summer work, first impressions and their optimism about avoiding an all-nighter (I wish you luck). First off, the survey revealed that just as it went with my beloved Class of ‘23, a considerable portion of the freshmen are from Buist Academy. Speaking of middle school, every Magnet student has their own story for choosing the Raptors over another, and the freshmen’s reasons were very… real. Brayden claims “I wanted a good life.” I hope you stay this optimistic for the rest of your high school career. An anonymous student shares that the appeal of multiple sports teams championed Magnet over other schools. I definitely support this opinion, the sports teams are a lot of fun and if you have the chance to be a part of one, take it (not to mention, we are arguably the most spirited student body in the state.) Ronan Engeker “was zoned for Burke.” The reason for avoiding your home school for whatever cause is certainly a popular one, and one I am guilty of myself. Finally, self proclaimed soundcloud rapper and president of the crochet club, Jonathan Kirk deems himself “a scholar” and the people “cool.” I would agree.

Apart from deciding why to come to Magnet, the freshmen were incredibly opinionated about their first expectations of the school. Amelie Gilmore shares, “I thought…everyone would be unfriendly.” If I can give you any reassurance, this is not the case. Others pointed out a stereotypical viewpoint, that “a bunch of nerds learning” is all AMHS is made out to be. Another student voiced concerns about arrogance surrounding grades, and multiple students mentioned the kindness and welcoming aspect of the school. As Priel Puro shared, “FRIENDS!” which is my personal favorite part of the school and really speaks to the character of students. Speaking of friends, or making them, I inquired with the freshmen about their Summer Scholars experience. Summer Scholars is something I have yet to forget and ‘26 definitely has some strong opinions about this too. Elena Barber claims “I was sort of dazed the whole time… I wanted school and real classes to start.” I applaud your enthusiasm, Elena, and hope school has been going well for you so far. Many commented on meeting people, which is definitely a plus to the whole endeavor. Zuriel Nyamutsaka (AKA Jonathon Kirk) claims the people he met “blew away…expectations.” This is a kind perspective, so thank you. However, Gavin has a bit of  a stronger feeling toward Summer Scholars. When asked if it prepared him for highschool, I received “NO.” Gavin, I feel your pain and I do hope the last few weeks have been better. 

Now that we’re done with introductions, let’s dive into the aspect of academics. Every student remembers their freshman year course load, if it’s for the nostalgia, enjoyment of the classes, or the transition from middle to high school. Many students described geometry and biology as the hardest classes of the year. Amelie deems PE her hardest class due to “a lack of athletic ability.” Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Good luck on that mile run. Another big step is the homework transition into high school. An anonymous surveyor claims that “I don’t even have time to play games.” This is a possibly sad reality, but remember to make time for yourself and your schoolwork. Naomi shares “in highschool it’s going to take a lot longer!” Naomi, I’m afraid you are correct, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Regarding summer work, a formidable experience for any young raptor, the books were described as “awful”,“depressing”, and “insightful.” I’ll just leave that there.  

Finally, we reach a topic that is difficult for most students here, myself included. Time management. When asked how they use their study hall, the freshman had some pretty promising answers. Whitney Lambert says that she works and talks to her friends, which is my favorite way to spend study hall. CJ Geiger shares that he spends his time making a triathlon club and that everyone should join. Another anonymous freshman shares “I filled out this form!” I couldn’t be more grateful to you for doing so. Our final assessment of the freshman class has to do with the aspect of procrastination. Another anonymous freshman claimed, “I just want to sleep when I get home.” Relate. Zoe Rhyne states her procrastination “has actually improved since coming to magnet.” Please share your secrets ASAP. Jonathan Kirk has one last freshman experience to share, saying “I was up all night recording my mixtapes.” I guess he really is a soundcloud rapper. 

I would quickly like to give a little senior-to-freshman advice. Don’t revolve your life around your schoolwork, and you’re fully capable of being successful here. Also, make time to invest in yourself, your friends, and other highschool events. While academics are a heavy part of going here, they aren’t the entire experience. Good luck!


Freshman Student Life

The Class of 2026 sure is “mysterious,” just as Ms. Pinckney described the Class of 2023 in their freshman year. However, this freshie class is a little more interesting than the other three grades this year, as they are the first in four years to have a normal freshman year of high school [knock on wood]. When asked “Is Magnet what you thought it would be like? Why?” Chouaib Saadi said, “yes everyone is a nerd,” which I’m hoping does not have a negative connotation or that might make Chouaib hypocritical since they are a Magnet student as well. Lillian Patterson claims that “Magnet is hard, but I know it will get slightly easier.” Sorry Lillian, you are wrong. Freshman and junior year will send you into an overdrive of stress relieving Cosgrove conversations and aimlessly trudging through the school halls in an attempt to clear their mind from 4 essays, 3 quizzes, 2 tests, and a presentation in a pear tree the following day. Josh McDowell very creatively and thoroughly said “yes, it is very cool.” Jack (Sparrow?) said he “thought everyone would be a huge snob and arrogant,” and Selena Owens said she “expected everyone to be stuck up, prissy, and cut-throat.” I’ll take that as a compliment. All 181 of my google form responses said there are currently no freshman couples, y’all are smart for that but we’ll see how long that lasts. When asking the freshmen “Are you scared or nervous?” some responded with no (prepare yourself baby cakes), many responded with yes because of grades, and others such as future basketball player Priel Puro said not at all because “the high school life is the relaxed way to live.” I’m not sure if you took a wrong turn on the way to Beckham or Harvard, but personally, in my almost four years at Magnet, not once has the feeling of serenity or relaxation crossed my mind. Selena Owens responded yes and asked, “What if I fall on my face doing the karaoke in PE?” No promises, been there done that one too many times… Jonathan L. Kirk said he is simply “scared [his] next mixtape will flop.” Good luck! Several freshmen also reported the funniest moment so far, and Collin Hlavac said that “During lunch, a guy came up to our group and tried to give me a seniors phone number.” Apparently this has happened on a daily basis, and let me just say, y’all are some of the most confident freshmen I’ve ever seen. Madeline (?) responded saying it was “when Ms. Desbrow started singing in biology class.” Personally I think she deserves a standing ovation. Just wait until the opera or dance lessons  class and you will understand. That sums it up for this year’s freshmen, as Ms. Pinckney said, a “mysterious” group for sure.