Students prepare for new year at new schools |

Students prepare for new year at new schools

by Caryn Haller

Douglas High School junior Byron Eddy and senior Heath Sunseri talk to a group of incoming sophomores on Wednesday during orientation.
Shannon Litz | The Record-Courier

With more than 400 incoming students, Douglas High School upperclassmen had their hands full Wednesday morning during sophomore orientation.

The sophomores played games to get to know each other, took a tour of the school and were paired up with upper class mentors to ease them through the transition.

“I want to welcome the class of 2016. I’ve heard great things about this class,” Principal Marty Swisher said. “In three years, you will be the leaders of this school.”

Swisher also offered three tips to being successful at Douglas High: Do all your work on time and turn it in, pass all your classes, and get involved in a sport or club.

“The most important thing is to make connections early on in the community of DHS. We want them to understand that society is about community,” orientation coordinator Milko Vasquez said. “High school is a tough world for a lot of kids. This is about seniors saying, ‘Welcome sophomores. We’re glad you’re here.”’

Junior Paxton Roberson remembered how helpful her two mentors were when she started at the high school.

“I’d never been to the school and they explained where the classrooms were, and made me feel welcome,” she said. “They made it easier to come.”

Senior Joey Swisher said the orientation is important to helping the sophomores succeed.

“It’s important for them to feel comfortable,” he said. “If they have a bad experience it could ruin their high school career.”

As 15-year-old Anthony Thompson participated in a getting-to-know-you exercise, he felt excited about the new year.

“It’s fun. I like how they do activities to make new friends,” he said. “I’m excited to be in the high school to meet new friends and start over.”

Coming from Carson Valley Middle School, Ashleigh Baldwin was thankful for the orientation.

“It’s helpful because you learn about the school. I’m nervous about getting lost,” the 14-year-old said. “I feel older just being in the building. I’m looking forward to learning about new things.”

At Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, the 189 incoming seventh graders and parents were challenged with a scavenger hunt around campus for their orientation.

Jasmine Delgado, 13, and her father, Junior, wandered C Pod looking for her classes.

“It’s kind of fun, but I’m nervous about being late for my classes,” Jasmine said.

Junior attended Pau-Wa-Lu when he was in ninth grade.

“It’s kind of crazy knowing she’s going to be coming to the same school I did,” he said.

Leadership advisor Lisa Peterson still gets disorientated navigating the school even after 15 years.

“This is a great way for the kids to alleviate their fears, and it’s nice for parents to come with their kids to see what a great place we have here,” she said.

New lead secretary Sharon Des Jardins sympathized with the seventh-graders trying to make their way through the five different pods.

Des Jardins moved to Carson Valley from Hawaii over the summer.

“I figured out finally how to get to the teachers’ lounge. I feel like I’m one of the new seventh graders learning about Pau-Wa-Lu,” she said. “So far, I’ve received such a warm welcome from the staff. The family atmosphere here is amazing.”

Leah Edge and her son, Joshua, had it a little easier finding his classes since her older daughter was already a student at the school.

“I think it’s important they come and find their classes. The pods are a little confusing,” Leah said. “I’m glad the teachers are here and we can meet them and get a feel for who they are and what supplies they need.”

The first day of school is Monday.

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