By LAHARI SANGITHA, senior
The annual Freshman Orientation, held on August 28 and hosted by H.A.W.K.S, (Helping Another Wonderful Kid Succeed), allowed incoming ninth-graders to familiarize themselves with JP Stevens. Bright-eyed and full of smiles, the freshmen from both Woodrow Wilson and John Adams were guided into the gymnasium, where they obtained their brand new ID cards.
Freshman Esha Khandelwal explained, “There were so many people and so many new faces. I was ecstatic to see all my friends and meet new ones.”
The event began in the auditorium with a small speech by senior H.A.W.K.S. President Pallavi Chadha. With a hearty “Good morning, Class of 2017!”, Mrs. Pawlikowski presented the guest speaker, Dr. Matt Bellace, a clinical psychologist and author of A Better High. Dr. Bellace motivated the students with an invigorating speech about obtaining a “natural high” through laughing, exercising, and having fun with friends. “I think Dr. Bellace’s speech was really genuine,” freshman Emily Lo recalled. “His humor and advice really made the whole experience of transitioning into high school more comfortable.”
The students later were directed to various classrooms where upperclassmen explained different aspects of JP Stevens such as the rules and regulations, counseling, clubs and sports, and the resources in the library. The students were given a tour by their respective Homeroom Leaders, students with a specific position in the H.A.W.K.S. club who ensure a smooth transition between middle school and high school for the freshmen.
Soon after, the students experienced what many consider the best part of the school day: lunch. As the freshmen settled into the cafeteria, they realized the true immensity of their class. “Freshman year,” reminisces senior Zahra Malik, “was so confusing. When you walk into the lunchroom, you’re overwhelmed by the number of students.” The orientation provided the freshmen with a chance to meet up with their friends and share their new experience.
At precisely twelve o’clock, the freshmen headed out to their assigned homeroom where H.A.W.K.S. members guided them through the homeroom process, handing out locks and going over schedules. To end their day, the new students walked through their schedules as they would later do so on the first official day of school. They left JP ready to return in September and confident about their ability to adjust to life in high school. “Hopefully,” stated Mrs. Pawlikowski, “the message that they get today is that we care about them and we really want them to have a great experience.”
The orientation would not have been possible without the help of Mr. Glassberg, Mrs. DeSimone, and the numerous HAWKS and faculty members who dedicated their time before and during the event to help the Freshmen Orientation a great success. Without these generous members of the JP Stevens community, the new students would not have had such a gracious welcome into the next four years of their lives. On a final note, senior Pallavi Chadha remarked,
“Surely, with every passing day we will continue to incorporate these new members into our school, remembering our own new beginnings at JP.”