Douglas gets 400 new tigers |

Douglas gets 400 new tigers

by Sarah Hauck
Douglas High School teacher and Link-Crew advisor Milko Vasquez leads an activity during freshmen orientation on Tuesday.
Jim Grant | The Record-Courier

The class of 2019 took their first steps as Douglas Tigers in a procession fit for royalty with clapping, cheers and music at orientation Tuesday.

On Monday, Douglas High School will see the addition of 400 freshman for the first time in more than 20 years.

“I am so beyond excited you all are here,” Principal Marty Swisher said at freshman orientation Tuesday. “The day will come when you’re seniors and I come into your government classes and say ‘congratulations, you made it.’ We want you to start strong and finish strong here at Douglas.”

Orientation allowed the students to explore the high school’s renovated halls as well as the newly constructed STEM building.

Waiting for her class schedule, Michelle Gower, said she was excited for the first day of class.

“I’m a little bit nervous,” the Gardnerville resident said. “I don’t want to get lost.”

Moving the freshmen into the high school allows the students access to several aspects they wouldn’t have in the middle school.

Michelle hopes to play softball as well as take advantage of some of the elective classes.

“I am really excited for the biomedical science classes,” she said. “I want to be in the medical field.”

Also able to push aside nerves for excitement, Ryan McNalley liked the idea of moving the freshmen into the high school.

“I’m not nervous about anything,” the Gardnerville resident said. “I just want to meet new people and make new friends.”

While the freshmen will have access to the entire building and classes, leaving campus won’t be an option.

The newest members of the high school as well as sophomores will not be allowed to leave campus during lunch.

“This is a good thing,” Swisher said. “I see a lot of you saying ‘ah man.’ This will provide two things for all of you. One, it will provide safety. Two, it will provide you with the extra help you may need through tutoring.”

Demonstrating how quickly a class period can disappear and the amount of things that can happen, Link Crew Advisor Milko Vasquez walked the group through several interactive exercises.

Whether it was challenging the students to organize themselves in order of their birthdays without talking or following a hand-movement pattern, Vasquez made sure the students saw the reasoning behind each movement.

“These are about perfection,” Vasquez said. “You all have the ability of that in you … There are three kinds of people in high school; those that make things happen, the ones that watch things happen and the ones that will say, at the end of four years ‘what happened?’ These things demonstrate what kind of person you are and how you will treat these next four years.”

Acting as Douglas High ambassadors, members of the Link Crew provided walk-throughs for the freshmen.

The goal was to make sure that the half-day on Monday goes as smoothly as possible, accompanied by advice from Swisher.

“I want to give you guys five keys of success before you take off into the hallways. I want every one of you to graduate from Douglas High. The class of 2014 had a 90 percent graduation rate, but that’s not good enough. You’re work as a freshman matters,” he said. “The first key is be at school every day and be on time. Two is do all of your homework and turn it in on time. If you miss a deadline it takes two assignments to get caught up. Don’t get behind. Three is get to know your teachers. We are blessed to have an amazing group of teachers that want to see you succeed. Four is get involved in a club, a team or a cocurricular activity. Five is see your teacher or ask your friends for help if you’re struggling in class. Don’t wait to do this. Ask them; they just want to see you succeed.”

Accompanying freshman on the first day of school as the new fish, the sophomore class will add another 400 students to the mix. The class were freshman last year and still at the middle schools.

A third change to school structures in the district is the addition of sixth graders to the middle schools.