New freshman class biggest Urban School class ever

The+Freshman+class+of+2013+raises+their+hands+in+ASM.+Photo+by+Isabel+Moore

The Freshman class of 2013 raises their hands in ASM. Photo by Isabel Moore

Emily Wen, staff writer

Charlotte Worsley, dean of student life, looked across at the turbulent mass of Urban students on Page Street, seconds before Kelli Yon, Urban’s new photography teacher, took the all-school photo.

“The reality is that 400 people do not fit on the sidewalk anymore. But, we do it anyway,” Worsley said. To be sure, the crowd as Urban began the second week of the school year was bigger than usual; kids spilled out of the windows, clustered on the sidewalk and were even crouching in the street.

Meet the class of 2013

The Freshman class of 2013 raises their hands in ASM. Photo by Isabel Moore
The Freshman class of 2013 raises their hands in ASM. Photo by Isabel Moore

The class of 2013, with a whopping 98 students, is the largest-ever freshman class at Urban. Out of the 501 students who applied, only 54 girls and 44 boys walked through Urban’s doors on Aug. 31.

While the hallways have become increasingly crowded, the freshmen also bring new talents to the Urban community. One freshman, May Congdon, is learning Arabic. Sinclair Riley and Sami Perez are in an all-girl punk band called “The She’s.”

Urban Expansion pt. 2?

Although the freshman class is larger than usual, there is no school-wide expansion in the foreseeable future, said Bobby Ramos, head of admissions. “Now that we have expanded to 350-ish, we are pretty comfortable (with) staying at freshmen classes of 90 to 95,” said Ramos. He added that “we may do another expansion, but I don’t know about that yet.”

During the 2003-2004 academic year, Urban had only 262 students, according to Urban’s registrar. During that year, the 9th grade was the largest class, with 73 students; the 10th grade had 57 students, the 11th had 70, and seniors graduated with 62.

Today, Urban has a total enrollment of 349 students. Out of the four grades, only the freshmen class is above the 90 to 95 range.

How 2013 is changing Urban

What is the reason for such a large grade? Last year, Ramos and the admission staff expected more students than usual to leave due to the economy. By accepting more freshmen, Ramos said, Urban hoped to nullify the financial effects of leaving students.

Some students are worried that more students make Urban a less personal place. Taylor Bostwick (’10) believes that, “as (Urban) grows it becomes less and less Urban. Traditions are lost, class sizes get bigger, the sense of community lessens. There is less freedom, and the school loses its special identity.”

Urban alumna Allegra Kwong (’07), believes that Urban is benefiting from the recent growth in student body. “It seems that the student body now has more diverse interests,” she said.

Lucy Finn (’10) also approved of the bigger freshmen class. To her, 98 is “a really good number. (The freshmen) stay out of the way, but they help fill up Gumption during dances.”

Duncan Magidson (’12) found a compromise between too big and too small: “I haven’t felt any sort of imposing presence of the freshmen’s large class size,” he said, though he added that “I feel that we have hit a wall and that continued expansion could degrade the Urban experience.”

–Reporting assistance by Allegra Gordon and Madeleine May