Last Friday, Old Rochester Regional High School held its new student orientation for incoming freshmen, transfer students, and their parents. Forty-seven AmbassadORs were present, along with several members of the staff, to help acclimate the new students to their surroundings.
The event started off with a welcome from Principal Mike Devoll, who briefly introduced students to important members of the staff. Vice Principal Mike Parker, Nurse Kim Corazzini, Athletic Director Bill Tilden, and Freshman Advisor Lindsay Tallman all greeted the assembled students and explained their roles.
The new students were then escorted by AmbassadORs to their homerooms, which are arranged alphabetically by last name. For about 30 minutes, the upperclassmen explained the basic workings of the normal school day. Students received their schedules, complete with the addition of the “Bulldog Block,” a new school-wide flex period when clubs and class meetings will now have a chance to run.
This time was also used to explain some of the more unique and alien aspects of the ORRHS schedule. For instance, even-numbered academic days have a “frozen block,” where one class period never changes in the rotation. Each academic day has four class periods and a Bulldog Block, and a student’s third class will dictate which of the two lunches they go to.
“It did help, mainly with figuring out when to go to the right lunches,” freshman Spencer Perez-Dormitzer said.
New students were also able to open their lockers for the first time before they were led on a tour of the school. AmbassadORs pointed out classrooms on students’ schedules and answered any questions.
“The students were cooperative and there weren’t any problems with figuring out schedules. Taking the students for tours really helped cement their schedule in their minds,” commented senior AmbassadOR Lindsey Merolla.
“After figuring out their new schedules, lockers, and how their school days will be running, their nerves began to ease,” added Erin Burke, another senior AmbassadOR. “Many of them are planning to be involved in sports teams, clubs, and organizations in the school, which will make for a smooth transition into our high school community.”
Some of the main discussion topics touched upon in the parent information session held while the new students were gaining a feel for the school included class fundraising, one- and two-hour delayed starts, absences and ways to contact the school.
In relation to sports, Tilden spoke on the seriousness of concussions and ways the school and the students individually need to self-report possible injuries. Although it was covered at an earlier Athletic Information Meeting, parents were also told that all student athletes would be required to take the Baseline Test, which gauges possible concussions.
“Orientation helped because it gave me an idea of the people I will need to communicate with over the next four years. I have a better understanding of who’s in the administration, procedures for absences, and how high school schedules work,” said Marissa Perez-Dormitzer. “This is important because this is my first child in the high school.”
“I think freshman orientation went very smoothly,” Burke summarized. “We had many freshman and new students who were eager to be welcomed into the high school, and Old Rochester set them up perfectly for not only a successful first day of school, but a successful year as a Bulldog…. They will be a great addition to the dog pound.”
By Jo Caynon