Nervous freshmen awaiting instructions filled the Jamestown High School auditorium Wednesday afternoon.
Soon enough, the former middle-schoolers were organized into several groups and led by a guidance counselor to sit in a high school classroom for the very first time. Once there, the counselor explained the ins and outs of the large building. The fidgety ninth-graders learned how their schedules work, expectations of high school level behavior and class conduct, the importance of fundraising for the senior trip and other helpful tips about their new environment.
Several older students were on hand to give their own advice about JHS. The most popular assertions were about joining a club or team, and that there is something for everyone. The Red Raider spirit is important to impress upon new students, said Monte Lawson, guidance counselor.
Guidance counselor Monte Lawson talks to new students about JHS.
P-J photo by Nicholena Moon
"We want them to be part of the high school," he said. "I think the more that they're involved, the more invested they are in school, and then the academics go very well."
It's never too early to begin preparing for college. Lawson warned the incoming freshman they will be in a much more serious classroom atmosphere where many kids will be focused on making the grade. He told them about the $700,000 in scholarship money given out last year, and that if they work hard, they could earn valuable money to put toward college.
However, the primary focus of orientation is to give students a taste of what they will be experiencing next week.
"The main thing today is just to get them used to the building because it is so much bigger than the middle schools," said Lawson. "So we just want them to start to feel more comfortable with that. The schedule looks a little bit different because middle schools have trimesters, and here we are on the semesters, so the days are a little different. Basically it just gives them a little bit more of a feel for how things are going to go."
Because it is such a big jump from the middle schools to the large high school building, one might expect many students to get lost on their first day. However, most of the kids end up doing just fine.
"It's more controlled chaos," said Lawson. "There will be some kids who do get kind of lost, but it's not that many. You would be surprised, with as big of a group as we have, how many of them find their way."
With that said, it is still important for parents to do their part to help their children. Ensuring a child's attendance in school can go a long way toward achieving that ultimate goal: graduation, then college.
"I think just to be prepared, to make sure that they're here on time and every day is the most important thing," Lawson said.