Walking down the halls of a new high school searching for a familiar face in a wave of strangers, can be terrifying to some students.
Castle High School helps alleviate freshmen’s stress on the first day. The four hours of freshman orientation are not just about helping students navigate their way through the labyrinth of classrooms but builds connections and friendships.
“The incoming freshman all come from different places,” said Ashley Temple, the CHS freshman counselor. “They’re from different middle schools, so they don’t know everybody else. They’re pretty nervous about joining in and becoming a class. Orientation helps them be comfortable and feel like they’re a part of the Castle family.”
Prior to orientation, selected seniors attend workshops to prepare them for the activities and ice breakers they will conduct with freshmen. With personal stories and a choreographed dance, seniors help the incoming students bond with others in their small groups.
“The senior mentors are such a great group of kids,” said Temple. “They apply to be in that position, and they put our best foot forward. They’re there to make every last freshman feel comfortable about their first day, and we’re very proud of them.”
The incoming class of CHS is currently over 515 students and could be the largest freshman class the high school has seen yet.
“We want every student to feel they are important and they are what makes us so great,” Temple said.
The small groups don’t end after orientation either. Freshmen’s study hall and lunch have the same students from orientation.
“They automatically make friends with students in a class and in their lunch,” she said. “So if they’re nervous about lunch or who they’re going to see their first day at such a big school, they’ve met a friend at orientation who they’re going to have a lunch with.”