You’re a freshman on the first day of high school.
The campus seems huge. So do some of the kids. You’re not sure where your classes are or how to get from Point A to Point B.
That’s why Apache Junction High School’s freshman orientation Wednesday meant so much to the approximately 75 students who were given a tour of campus and heard from administrators, coaches and activities directors.
Assistant principal Ryan Lamb said he expects more students from the incoming 224-freshmen class to show up for the school’s Meet The Teacher night on Monday.
“It’s been great,” freshman Madisyn Gray said. “I didn’t know anything about this campus. Now it will be better for me when school starts.”
AJHS Principal Dr. Chris Lineberry said the goal of the orientation was twofold: Make kids more comfortable when they walk through the doors on Tuesday, the first day of classes, and provide an early opportunity for the freshmen to get involved in extra-curricular activities such as sports, band, drama, etc.
“This is now their school,” Lineberry said. “We will rise together as a team or fall together as a team.”
Lineberry said it was important for the freshmen to not only hear from coaches and activities directors but to see the few older students that were on campus Wednesday.
“We had cheerleaders here, athletes, NJROTC,” Lineberry said. “Hopefully kids can now recognize different students and that makes them more comfortable when school starts.”
Lamb, who helped coordinate the orientation, said AJHS also welcomed sophomores and some juniors who, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, were not on campus at all in 2020-21.
“We wanted them to get exposed to the school grounds and see how the campus looks,” Lamb said.
One key element of the orientation was showing students where, for example, the math building is located or where science classes will take place. The hope is that on Tuesday, the freshmen aren’t wandering around with confused looks on their faces. Instead, they’ll know where to go.
That’s no minor thing.
“It will be better for me for sure,” Gray said.
“That was the goal,” Lamb added. “We wanted to make them more familiar with where they’re going to take their classes and what they can get involved in.”
Editor’s note: Scott Bordow is Apache Junction Unified School District’s director of communications and community engagement.