Freshman Mary Smith already has a ride lined up to school on Wednesday if she wants it.
And it's with an upperclassman.
That's how things work since Carson High School's LINK crew has run orientation for the past two years. LINK crew is a group of upperclassmen who pair with freshmen to help ease the transition from middle school to high school.
That was CHS senior Samantha Bowers' point when she offered a ride to the eight freshmen in her orientation group last week.
"I'm going to be your leader throughout the school year," she told them. "I do plan on hanging out with every one of you. I don't care if it's alone, or if it's in a group, I'm going to get to know every one of you.
"I'm a really touchy-feely person," she continued. "So if I come up and wrap my arms around you and you tell me I have B.O., I won't get offended. I don't take offense to hardly anything."
It's exactly that welcoming, comfortable feeling that teacher Misty Harris, coordinator for the LINK crew, wants new students to have.
"Orientation is about making students comfortable," she said. "It gives them a chance to really get organized before the other 2,000 students come in. It's like a deer in headlights when all the other students are here. It gives them the school for a day."
Principal Fred Perdomo introduced himself to the new students. About 550 of the 762 incoming freshman attended a four-hour orientation one of two days last week.
"This place is like a little city," Perdomo said. "We have our own bank, we have our own restaurant, we have our own TV station. There's about 3,000 teachers, students and staff that exist in this city every day."
He wished them a great four years.
"It's going to go by faster thank you think," he said. "Then all of a sudden, it's life."
Angolece Rice, 14, said she was enjoying the freshman orientation and thought it was fun.
"I'm just excited," the former Carson Middle School student said. "Definitely, I want to join sports and get more good grades and more experience that I didn't have in middle school."
And looking at the smiling faces around her, she added, "And meet new people too."
After about an hour and a half, students broke into smaller groups led by a LINK crew member.
"I'm excited because (high school) will be a new experience," said Mary, a former Eagle Valley Middle School student. "I'm nervous. (The school's) so huge."
Tasks included name games and information sharing. Mary, 14, told her group she wants to be a veterinarian, would like to one day skydive, and that she looks up to her sister.
"It helps me to get to know people I didn't know already," Mary said. Just two of the other students in her group were from Eagle Valley Middle School.
After the orientation ended, students received a tour of the school, purchased student identification cards, and found their lockers. And Bowers shared one thing she's learned over the years about the first day of school.
"I still highlight my classrooms on the map," she said.
n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
Things to Know about Carson
• Wednesday is the first day of school.
• School starts at 7:50 a.m. and ends at 1:55 p.m.
• Physicals for sports and ROTC are mandatory.
• Student body cards are $25 and required for all students involved in activities. A card gets students into home games free.
• P.E. uniforms are $20. Gym clothes used at the middle school can be used in high school.
• Open House is scheduled from 7-9 p.m. Sept. 15.
• The school phone number is 283-1600. The principal is Fred Perdomo.