SCHWEINFURT, Germany (Sept. 17, 2013) -- The high school at U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt has been transformed recently to include a new population of students.

Schweinfurt High School became Schweinfurt Middle High School when the community and school officials decided to combine the seventh and eighth grades into the high school. Feelings about this new development are mixed throughout the school population.

Carla Nau-Redman, a former Schweinfurt Elementary Middle School teacher now at the high school, feels the transition may be difficult for some of the younger students.

"I'm a little worried about the seventh graders because they are going from being young sixth graders into a building where there are kids so much bigger and older than them," said Nau-Redman.

Some of the high school students are also worried for the middle school students because of the sudden exposure to more mature aspects of life. Others are sorry they will miss out on a traditional middle school experience, which gives kids a chance to grow up and feel "like the bosses of the school," said one SMHS senior.

In the midst of the worry and fear for the young students comes the assuring and confident voice of Marc Villarreal, the vice principal.

"The middle schoolers have brought a lot of positive energy to the school," said Villarreal. "We are so lucky to have them, and although they present new challenges, there is nothing we can't get through."

With the larger numbers, SMHS should have enough participation for clubs and athletics to continue even as the garrison population decreases. Also, without the middle school students the halls of SMHS would look comparably empty.

[Editor's note: Story contributed by students of Schweinfurt Middle High School.]