By Elyana Schosek
For many kids, high school can seem daunting. That’s why High School Principal James Bialasik has held a Freshmen Orientation each year since he started at the district three years ago.
“We want to show them that the high school is not a scary place and we are here to support their child and give them what they need to be successful,” Bialasik said. “We want families to recognize the tremendous opportunities that we offer and make an informed decision on their course planning for their freshman year.”
Wyatt Myers, an incoming freshman who attended the event, thought it was definitely intended to ease the transition, especially for the parents.
“It gave the parents information about what’s going on in the school and what classes we can take,” Wyatt said.
The high school counselors Mr. Criscione, Mr. Mathewson and Mrs. Brennan, along with Mr. DeMartino, vice principal and athletic director, also helped with planning the event. They also take feedback from some of the teachers in the school.
The purpose of the evening is to make families as comfortable as possible with the transition to high school.
“We also want them to know what the academic program looks like at the high school including our elective offerings, clubs, and activities,” Bialasik said.
Some of the clubs that attended the event were Tech Club, Key Club, Art Club, Yearbook Club and Science Club.
The evening began with introductions followed by an overview of the academic program.
“We then give families a chance to tour the building and see some of our electives in action and also see some of the clubs/activities that we have available,” Bialasik explained.
Both Bialasik and some of the teachers picked students to attend the event as ambassadors. He said that they also had students volunteer.
“I really enjoyed having so many students there as I think it shows parents how invested our students are in their school and how they want to ‘show it off’,” he added.
Michael Spagnola and myself attended the event as representatives of the Tech Club. We sold glasses engraved on the CNC laser as part of fundraising efforts and answered any questions students or parents may have had.
“Events such as freshmen orientation are good for Tech Club because we can inform students and parents that there is an opportunity for students to learn about doing hands on projects such as robotics,” Michael said. “It lets people know that we are committed to fundraising for bigger and better projects that we can allow students to take part in.”
Tech Club is a great experience for students that are interested in technology because it lets us work with other students who are dedicated and willing to try new things in order to create cool projects.
Kelsey Zabawa was one of the many student ambassadors at the orientation.
“It’s very beneficial to the upcoming freshmen,” she said. “They have the opportunity to reach out to teachers, counselors, students and anyone they feel can answer questions for them. … It is their first opportunity to experience the beginning of the next four years of their lives!”
When asked why she enjoyed being an ambassador, Kelsey said, “Being that it is my last year, I really enjoyed speaking to the upcoming freshmen and sharing my high school experience with them.”
Abby Stressinger attended the event on behalf of the Key Club, which she is the president of.
“At the orientation we get the opportunity to reach out and talk to younger students who may not know what the club is about,” she said. “We get to explain what we do and what we stand for as a club to those who may not already have an idea of what the club is about.”
Abby added that it teaches students how to respect and add to their community, not only with service but with interacting with other students and staff members.
All in all, each and every one of the teachers and high school students involved felt that it was a great opportunity for the incoming freshmen to get to know the school and some of what they can expect.