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Freshmen enjoy their first weeks at school

Mystika Allison-Barnes

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When the class of 2021 arrived at SM North High School on Aug. 11, for Freshmen First Day, there was a range of feelings in the air.  Some were nervous, some excited and optimistic, and others simply curious to see what high school was all about.  Freshmen mentors and teachers formed a tunnel of sorts to cheer on and welcome the new freshman as they walked towards North’s fieldhouse doors.

“I got dropped off by the bus so I had to go through the line of people,” freshman Josephine Lenati said.  “I thought it was cool. It was nice to see the upperclassmen supporting us and they really meant it.”

Although some didn’t really appreciate the hoard of returning students and teachers surrounding them as they hurried to get past unwanted attention, the freshman mentors were waiting with both donuts and helpful spirits.

“They kinda helped us around the school,” freshman Ryan Russell said,  “and showed us to our classes if we were confused.  That was probably the number one thing for me, coming into high school, that I was really nervous about – finding my way around.”

After visiting their teachers and getting acquainted with the school building, the new freshman split into smaller groups to participate in other activities and fun, team building games such as “Numbers” and “The Noodle Game”.

“It kind of felt like it was a little bit trying to get to know each other, games and stuff,” Russell said., “trying to feel comfortable with each other.  Some people didn’t really want to participate.  They probably thought it was a little bit childish, but I was reminded back to middle school.”

Another activity on the schedule was an A.R.T performance on how to prepare and act in high school.  This also served as an introduction to the excellent Drama department.

“It was definitely corny,” freshman Corey Johnson said,  “but it was kind of comedic because of that.  I think it was helpful because it was so corny, people thought about it.”

But with all of the fun and games is a time to be serious, a time to lay down the rules and make things real, something the administrators did when talking to the new high schoolers.

“It made me feel like I don’t want to mess around,” freshman Ethan Salvino said.  “I just want to do great with my education, not mess around, and learn.”

Salvino wasn’t the only student in the audience that got that message.  When asked to compare North to middle school, Johnson said he thought the same thing because of the impression he got from his teachers.

“It’s a lot more on you,” Johnson said.  “Teachers aren’t like, ‘You need to do this, you need to do that’.  It’s on you to get your stuff done and be the best you can be so you can go somewhere in the future.”

In the feedback that was received, the freshman applauded the teachers in their support and appreciated the freedom and opportunity that was lacking in middle school.

“I feel like a whole other world has opened up,” freshman Ella Gibson said,  “with all the new activities and things I get to do.  Like in Hocker I felt like I was at the top, there was nothing more I could do, but now I have, like, goals.”

Since the whole student body has come together in these past few weeks, the freshmen have seen just how North really is in it’ws day-to-day and have even chosen some of their favorite teachers, commonly noted were Mrs. Johnson-Berry, Mrs. Melcher, Mr. Bartlett, and especially former Hocker Grove science teacher, Mr. Wallace.

He knows me very well,” Gibson said.  “It’s just nice having somebody who knows me already.

In addition to the teaching staff, students like Johnson admired the inclusiveness of North as a whole.

“Just the overall community,” he said.  “Everyone fits in somewhere.  No matter who you want to be, you can be with a group of people so you don’t always feel alone.”

Based on the comments and criticisms, not only was Freshmen First Day both helpful and successful, but most could agree that North is a suitable home for the class of 2021, but Gibson did have a message for the upperclassmen.

“Everybody hates freshman,” she said.  “I mean, I get it but like people hated you last year so you can’t really judge.  I get seniors, but people who were just in my shoes, to make fun of me, it doesn’t really make much sense.  People just have a bad stigma about freshmen.”

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newsmagazine for shawnee mission north high school
Welcome to the Brick House