Welcoming the Class of 2019!

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Allison Tien, Managing EditorIMG_9577In the past three years, Dean of Students Coach Marion Tolon, has organized a system of Senior Mentors to help the transition from middle school to high school for the freshmen class of 2019. Through hosting events such as a trip to Main Event after freshmen orientation and a Donut Social after the Honor Code signing during Activities Period, this year’s seniors have the chance to present themselves as friendly peers rather than intimidating upperclassmen.

IMG_9564Tolon has tried different systems of organization for each class of incoming freshmen. In the academic year of 2013–2014, she paired each freshmen to a senior of their own for a friend and an informal student advisor. In the following year, Tolon received a voluntary group of approximately 30 seniors from the graduating class of 2015 to accommodate for the incoming freshmen in the class of 2018. This year, she decided to try something new: a system run by seniors themselves to welcome the underclassmen.

Four rising seniors met over the summer of 2015 with Tolon to brainstorm fun events and to organize groups of freshmen with a pair or trio of seniors. Senior Mentor Coordinators Joe Bonfiglio, Sarah Covington, AJ Cruse, and Allison Tien have been getting together to create events and little gestures to create a welcoming atmosphere for the incoming freshmen. The senior mentors not only help the youngest of the Upper Division make friends with each other, but also offers the freshmen a chance to “get to know the upperclassmen better” (Hallie Reigar, ’19).

A month before the school year kicked into action, Tolon sent out messages to the graduating class of 2016 in search of volunteers for Senior Mentors. The turnout was even greater than she had expected due to her results from last year. A total of 61 seniors agreed to help out!

Following freshmen orientation, on August 24, seniors not only helped run the ice breaker activities with freshmen advisors, but they also led tours and gave helpful tips to start off the year! That same evening, senior Student Council members (Rob Nayfa, Gabby Jones, Gray Katigan, Dylan Dobson, Lauren Elliott, Tek Kreidler, Fiona Rendon) and the Senior Mentor Coordinators took the freshmen to Main Event for a fun night of games, laser tag, bowling, and pizza! The event not only helped the freshmen “feel more comfortable and welcome to the high school,” but also let the “new kids get to know each other and also us (seniors)” (Covington, ’16).

The next day, after the entire Upper Division orientation, all of the senior mentors gathered together in their personal groups in the Gaylord Student Center to write personal letters to their freshmen for the big reveal on Wednesday, September 9th.

After the Donut Social where she met her Senior Mentors, Freshman Hallie Reigar told the Crier that “having senior mentors is really helpful, because if you don’t know something, you can ask them.”

With the spiritual theme of “icons” for the year, seniors have kicked off the year, as the icons representing the entire student body, with a great start. 61 eager seniors are presenting the school as a close-knit community that always welcomes new students to the family.