Ye gods, I remember being in ninth grade and walking down the hallway with the seniors at the time and noting how much older they were in comparison to me. I felt the same way in consideration with being in sixth grade versus walking alongside eighth graders.
Then again, when you're at the bottom of the chain and there's such a notable age gap, you're bound to notice. I remember identifying with Dawn and friends around the time I read this because I was like "YES, this, exactly."
Only my eighth grade class didn't have to merge with the high school. Stinks going from the "rulers" of one grade level to starting all over again.