An Odd Welcome

With new COVID-19 policies in place, freshman orientation looked much different for the class of 2024 this year.

An+Odd+Welcome

Freja Cini, Student Life Editor

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Last year by mid-August, Cypress Falls High School would have opened its doors to welcome students back into their second home. The seniors would have been walking in the hallways for one last year, nostalgia in the air. Other students would be ready to meet up with their friends and get their new schedules. The new freshman class would come up to the school for freshman orientation and learn all about Cy Falls. This year, however, that was not the case. With the new safety protocols, staff and administration had to get creative on how to plan this important event. 

 

The first week of September was dedicated to the class of 2024 and the start of their high school journey. Mrs. Patricia Charron, a Cy Falls administrator of 15 years, was one of the organizers of the event this year. 

 

“Freshmen Orientation was different this year because we had to keep groups small,”  Charron said. “We did 18 sessions over a 4-day period with a limit of 20 students per session. Normally, each freshman is welcome and whoever they want to bring. This year, it was only on-campus kids and one parent.” 

Assistant Principal Kevin Tompkins informs students about COVID-19 guidelines upon entering the school.

Although the event looked a lot different from earlier years, the administrative team still made sure to make everything interesting for the upcoming freshman class. Some clubs were invited up to the school to help with the planning, tours, and talk to the new students and create a friendly atmosphere.

 

“The event went as planned, but no fun or frills, just a quick tour,” Charron said. “The best part of the event was the student volunteers, who came up to give one on one tours of the building.”

 

This year’s circumstances also called for fewer staff members to get involved. Curriculum Coach and Algebra I Team Leader Meagan Brisker usually attends freshman orientation every year, but due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, she was unable to take part in this year’s event.

 

“This year, I was not able to [go to the event], but only because we didn’t have a true freshman orientation due to everything with COVID,” Brisker said. “We were very limited on who could be at freshman orientation, but if it was any other year, I definitely would’ve been here.”

 

Even though Brisker notes the big differences between this year’s orientation and previous years, she still thinks the event was well thought out and helpful for students. She hopes that next year’s incoming freshman will be able to participate in a normal orientation. 

 

“I think that it went well for the circumstances that we were put in,” Brisker said. “It does hurt my heart to know that the kids didn’t get the full freshman orientation atmosphere. I know that there were clubs there, but you can’t really interact and see the clubs. For what was given, and what they had, I think it was really good, but I wish the freshmen would have been able to have the real freshman orientation.”

Freshmen and their parents listen to admin’s tours around the school.

Despite the small event, some students still enjoyed the experience they got from it. Freshman Samuel Davis, in particular, was delighted with the way everything turned out at freshman orientation. 

 

“I thought it was really informative because I got to learn where all of my classes were, and it was really helpful,” Davis said. “It was nice being able to go find my classes, which was something I didn’t really get to do when I was in Truitt.”

 

Even though it’s only his third week, Davis is already adjusting well and liking the atmosphere of the school. He is looking forward not only to his classes, but also his electives and high school activities.

 

“[School so far] has been really nice actually, and I think it’s way better than middle school,” Davis said. “I am looking forward to doing marching band, which is really fun. I’m really glad I did that. I’m learning a lot, so I really enjoy it.”