NORTH MONMOUTH — Going back to school had special meaning this year for Lilliane Verrill, 14, of North Monmouth, because she’s moving up from middle school to high school.

“It’s the bottom of the food chain again,” declared the freshman, whose favorite activity is playing video games. “We ruled the school in eighth grade. Now we’re going to be all new and have no idea what we’re doing.”

The transition from Monmouth Middle School to Monmouth Academy isn’t a big one, distancewise, for Lilliane, a typical upcoming high school freshman, and her classmates. The two schools are right across Academy Road from each other. Lilliane said she will be reunited with some old friends in the upper classes at high school.

But other changes, not as easy to measure, are coming, too.

“I’m really excited to go into high school,” she said last week just before school started for the year. “There are a lot of 10th graders that I went to kindergarten with. I’ll be meeting new kids and seeing old friends.”

Lilliane has attended Monmouth schools all the way from kindergarten to high school. She went to Henry L. Cottrell School in grades kindergarten through three, Monmouth Middle School in grades 4 through 8 and plans to attend Monmouth Academy through high school.

She and her freshmen classmates will be in the class of 2017 at the academy.

Lilliane’s 15th birthday is Sept. 25, another milestone for her.

Monmouth schools use a numerical grading system with 4 corresponding to A, and 3 to B, and so forth.

“I feel really accomplished because eighth grade was difficult,” Lilliane said. “I did well with all A’s and B’s in the regular grading system, but there’s always that nagging fear that you’re going to fail.”

Chorus was Lilliane’s choice for a freshman elective course this year. She also will be taking algebra 1, social studies, English and science.

Lilliane also plans to go out for dramatics and track and field.

She’s already performed in several plays in the lower grades that were presented at Cumston Hall, the castle-like home of The Theater at Monmouth.

As a member of the Monmouth Middle School track team, Lilliane competed in shot put, 100-meter and 200-meter dashes and sprint relays. “I can throw the shot 24 feet,” she said. In the sprints, she said, “I usually came in first in my heat and then seventh to ninth overall.”

Lilliane spent a lot of time learning karate. “I made it up to a purple belt (close to a black belt), but we had to stop because of expenses,” she said.

In swimming, Lilliane placed first in the state in the breast stroke in 2009, swimming for the Kennebec Valley YMCA team.

More recently, she’s been active in Western Maine Young Marines, a group based in Mount Vernon. “I am a lance corporal. I take care of the privates and the recruits,” she said.

Looking ahead, Lilliane said if she decides to join the military after high school, it will be the Marines.

“Otherwise, I’ll go to college and take technical classes so I can build and design things with computers,” she said.

She does spend a lot of time on the computer now, especially at home, she said.

“I play Minecraft, League of Legends and World of Warcraft,” she said. “I read Web comics.”

She also meets people with the same interests on social media gaming sites such as Omegle and Homestuck.

She and her mother, Linda Verrill, like to play games on their Xboxes together, Lilliane said. “We play Call of Duty and Zombies together. I play Gears of War.”

How does she manage her time so she gets her homework done and can spend hours playing video games?

“I’m pretty good with getting my work done in class, because I don’t goof around and talk to people,” Lilliane said. “If I do have homework, I get that out of the way first and then I go to my video games.”

“During class, I usually try to stay quiet and get my work done and not get in trouble,” she said. “I talk with my friends at lunch and at study hall, if it’s allowed.”

Lilliane watches movies on Netflix. Her favorite movie is “Sweeney Todd” and her favorite actor is Johnny Depp.

She still likes old-fashioned outdoor pursuits such as riding her bicycle, swimming, running through the woods and jumping off bridges, including the one over the mill pond in North Monmouth.

She’s gone to Camp Susan Curtis for a couple of weeks every summer since she was a little girl, and she plans to become a counselor there.

Lilliane said she really doesn’t feel any different yet being a high school student.

“I feel the same,” she said, “still just as immature as I was in eighth grade.”

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