The Large Freshman Class: What Does This Mean for CHS?


Henry Burnett and Dei Figueroa

Have you been wondering why the school this year might feel more filled than before? It may be because this freshmen class is much larger than any class in recent years. This year, the 9th grade class is a total of 444 students, which makes up a significant 33% of the 1365-person-student population. Along with many 9th graders coming in from the public middle school Buford Middle School, many students have come in from other middle schools. For example, a large number of students have come from Village School, Field School, Waldorf School, Charlottesville Day School, and more. With all these factors, the Class of 2026 has been huge compared to recent years. In the other classes, the student body population slowly goes down from 346 sophomores to 294 juniors to finally 281 seniors. With the growing student body, what could this mean for the future of CHS?


First off, we have already seen some immediate impacts based on the large freshman population. One example is the substantial increase in the crowdedness of the hallways while switching classes. Harper Ullrich, a freshman this year, has noticed the considerable number of students and acknowledges that this is different from before because “[she’s] talked to some upperclassmen who said it’s a lot more.” This has certainly already had an impact on students rotating from class to class. Additionally to the magnitude of students during the transition, Vice Principal Nicole Armstrong has stated that four teachers in core subjects had to be added this school year due to the sheer student population. She also stated that if the student population continues to grow that “we’ll have to add more teachers.” Lastly, athletics have also been affected. The CHS Field Hockey program has 11 freshmen, with only 7 sophomores, 8 juniors, and 8 seniors. Cross Country has the largest freshman class that it has had in a long time. This is an indication that athletics could continue to grow in all categories. 


With many quick changes, this could mean differences in the future as well. An increase in population and teachers means less availability of space in the school. This could also lead to higher individual class sizes. Vice Principal Nicole Armstrong said that “we will continue to be creative” with space and classrooms to limit class sizes. As of now, some teachers don’t even have their own class space yet. For example, the Latin teacher, Magistra Lund, has to move around classes with a cart for her classes. This could be subject to change but shows how the school needs to be creative in where they put teachers. In the athletic and extracurricular field, with a larger class, the school could be bumped up to Class 4. Your class is strictly based on the student population, meaning CHS could be moved up with the growing population. Virginia High School League (VHSL) has added CHS into Class 4 Region D to their plan starting in the 2023-2024 year, however this could change. TLastly, the feeling in the school will change. With more students, lunches may feel more crowded, student sections at games may involve more students, and the school as a whole may feel more full. 


With more perspectives and opinions things will change for the better and bring the student body together as a community. “There are many more opportunities,” said Cate Slaughter. “Different types of people, more diverse.” Having 444 freshmen means that there are lots of different perspectives at CHS. “I’ve gotten along very well with people in my grade and not (in my grade),” says Leo Abrahamson. Students in clubs or sports seem to be having an easier time meeting new people. Addy Buckner said that “[she is] constantly, meeting people, plus like, just classes, and like clubs and extracurriculars.” Jin Oishi, a senior, advised freshmen to “Get help from teachers when you need it, play sports, join clubs.” With the growing number of students at CHS, a lot of changes will happen, but maybe not all of them will be bad. 


The large freshman class has and will continue to impact CHS in all departments. From larger class sizes to a new state level for extracurriculars, the school may look different in years to come. This year, freshmen have already experienced unique situations and have had a phenomenal overall time at the beginning of their high school careers. With an easier transition to high school and being the first class in recent years to have a full middle school experience, the freshmen have immediately been able to enjoy and cherish high school so far. However, we may not be able to predict the future of CHS, only time will tell.