First Impressions

Social Studies teacher Rebecca Stone reworked Freshmen orientation.

It’s that time of the year again. Students are watching their summer wind down and classroom doors are starting to open.

 For some students their high school careers are coming to an end, but for a larger portion of students, it’s only the beginning. In the past, freshmen orientation at Riverside high was always scheduled a week before school started, but this time staff decided to host the event on the very first day of school and have veteran students lead the event.

 Social studies teacher Rebecca Stone was in charge of organizing the event. “I got the inspiration from Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming.” Stone said. “When she wrote about her being overwhelmed on her first day of high school, I thought, this is one of the most brilliant women of our time, and she felt overwhelmed. What does that mean for Riverside students?”

Senior Matthew Wagner was one of 15 captains selected to lead freshman on a tour of Riverside’s campus. “Teachers could recommend students who they see fit the role,” Wagner said. “I was recommended by orchestra teacher, Sara Moore.” It was interesting to show students around the school in a way that I wasn’t during my freshman year. “I feel like my freshman year would’ve been better if I had some type of familiarity with the school.”

Each tour guide was responsible for about 30 freshmen. Nathan Ledford was one of them.

“It was overall a pretty good experience,” Ledford said. “The guides gave us a pretty general idea where everything was located.”

Junior, Michael Johnson remembers his freshman struggles and likes the new orientation model. 

“I’m directionally challenged,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t find any of my classes freshman year. It took me a while to get use to the area.”

Ledford states that everything was fine for the majority of the day, his group took a couple of tests, met upperclassmen, and just overall had a good time. The only hiccup that Ledford noticed was during the tour, when his guide lost the large crowd a couple times. Apparently, his tour guide wasn’t paying attention to their assigned students and it caused confusion.

     Stone thinks the new orientation went well, but could improve in places. 

“I think it was a success,” she said. “Students had a chance to see the whole school, all of them. Sometimes the students who weren’t coming [to orientation in the past] were the ones who needed to come the most. They met 42 upperclassmen. I think there are a lot of good things to build off.“

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