829 RISING: New guide provides teens keys for taking control instead of being controlled. STOCK PHOTO

As eighth graders, they were the big kids on their middle school campus. As they move on to ninth grade, they will be the youngest kids in high school. The new experience is daunting enough on its own, but with all the societal distractions present today, incoming freshmen have challenges their parents and grandparents never had to imagine.

A new digital workshop, 829 Rising, guides incoming high school freshmen through an informative and motivating set of activities, as well as thought-provoking insights that let them know they’re more powerful than they realize.

“With social media, reality shows, cancel culture, bullying, high stakes testing and the obstacles many students of color face, high school has become more stressful than ever,” said Michelle Hollinger, who created the workshop after speaking with a dear friend who was stressed out about her 14-year-old daughter heading to high school.

829 Rising invites the teens to consider their relationship with social media and to give themselves permission to self-regulate their participation.

“They already know whether they’re spending too much time on Instagram and TikTok,” said Hollinger. “The key is for them to take control of it, instead of allowing it to control them.”

The 45-minute workshop introduces students to powerful tools such as vision boards and affirmations to help with goal setting, and includes a powerful activity to help them change their inner voice from a critic to an ally.

“Everyone has that voice that chimes in to tell you what you can’t do and why. 829 Rising teaches teens to tame the voice,” she said.

To help students hit the ground running, the workshop encourages them to establish a study schedule based on their personality, which increases the likelihood of them sticking with it.

“A university study says the grades students earn in ninth grade mirror the ones they get in 11th, which is significant for those heading to college,” Hollinger said. “It’s far easier to maintain a good grade point average than it is to try to improve a poor one. Ninth grade is where students really lay the foundation for how their high school journey unfolds.”

Parents may purchase 829 Rising at a discounted rate of $25 at michellehollinger.com. Schools or community groups interested in purchasing the workshop, can email iammichellehollinger@gmail.com with GROUPS in the subject line.