September 7, 2013 in Washington Voices

Getting early start on high school U-Hi frosh oriented before other students arrive

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

U-Hi sophomorre Marla Prothero, right, shares her high school experience with incoming freshmen Thursday, during their orientation before upperclassmen arrived later in the day. Prothero is part of the Crimson Crew, a mentoring group that will help freshmen through their first year of high school.
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At 7:45 Thursday morning at University High School, 465 incoming freshmen were in the gym doing a dance.

“They’re all kindred spirits,” Vice Principal Sherry Clark said of the freshmen class. She said since 2005, the first half of the first day of school is just for freshmen. Upperclassmen come after lunch.

Teacher Rhonda Austing welcomed the class of 2017 from North Pines, Bowdish, Horizon and other middle schools, telling them that this is the moment they all become Titans.

During those first few hours of the school year, the Crimson Crew, all upperclassmen, meet with freshmen, lead them on tours and answer questions.

Principal Alan Robbins said when the kids first enter the school they all have that deer-in-the-headlights look to them.

There are so many things to learn as a freshman. Not only is it a new school with new teachers and classrooms to find, they also have to learn things like the school fight song and the social media hashtags to follow.

There are also new friends to make, and the Crimson Crew helps them with that during the student’s Titan Advisory Period, which is like the student’s homeroom class for the next four years.

Austing, the Crimson Crew adviser, said there are about 90 students involved. About five or six of these students are assigned to a TAP class and will check in with them about once a month during the coming year.

Josh Ramsey, a senior, has been leading the Crimson Crew over the summer and is one of the students assigned to math teacher Mary Hansen’s TAP class. He and four others led the students in some bonding games to help them get to know one another.

“I was really nervous as a new kid,” Ramsay said. “It’s a lot of anxiety for a kid to handle in a day.”

The crew distributes the class schedules to the freshmen.

Laurie Hudson saw she didn’t have a first period class. A member of the Crimson Crew told her to check with the counselor.

The freshman said she really wasn’t looking forward to the beginning of school.

“I’m tired,” Hudson said. “I don’t like it, being up so early.”

But she said she liked the welcome she was receiving as a freshman. She said she knew what it was going to be like, because she has an older sister at the school.

“It’s a good transition,” said Hudson’s friend, Lauryn Henry. “It’s easier than I expected.” Henry said she got into all the classes she wanted and is especially looking forward to taking biomed.

Trenton Honshell said he was a little nervous, but appreciated the morning to ease into being a high school student.

“It’s pretty fun,” he said. “It’s very welcoming. I can’t wait for high school.”

Central Valley High School participates in a similar program.

“I love the start of the new year,” Robbins said. “It’s one of the most fun times of the year.”


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