Approximately 250 of Bastrop High's incoming freshman met for an orientation ceremony in the school's gym yesterday to get a better understanding of what to anticipate from their new school, while also learning what's expected of them.
“Kick Start,” an event held at the beginning of every Bastrop High school year, “gives our freshmen a chance in advance to come out and tour the school and get information prior to when the the whole student body will be here,” said BHS freshman academy councilwoman Dr. Angela German. “This way they're more comfortable.”
Many of the students witnessed a high school pep rally for the first time Tuesday. Afterwards, they took a tour of the school to find out areas that will be important for them to know.
“We're showing them how to open lockers and where their classes will be,” German said. “They're also going to be shown other places like the offices and band room.”
BHS freshman academy principal John Washington said he was “very excited” about the new year.
“We're looking forward to working with the incoming freshmen,” he said. “We have a great faculty here at Bastrop High School and we're anticipating absolute success with these freshmen.”
Washington said the school is expecting approximately 399 new freshmen this year. As with any new school year, he said the first few weeks of school are the most important for students, as well as teachers.
“We tell the teachers that the most important expectations are set forth at the beginning of the school year,” he said.
Incoming freshman Matthew Campbell said although he is a “little nervous” about entering BHS, he's more “excited” because of the doors it will open in the future.
“I went to Beekman. This is a lot bigger,” he said. “I feel good about the upcoming year. I plan to finish high school and become an engineer after I graduate college.”
Jacob Williams attended BHS last year as part the Connections program, which consists of one year of reading and math for students who are at least 15 years old, are two or more years behind and have not passed the eighth grade LEAP test.
“I'm coming back this year as a freshman,” Williams said. “I am going to continue getting an education because you can't get a job without an education. If you don't finish school, you go nowhere in life.”
As Washington listened to Williams speak with great eagerness to succeed in school, he proposed a challenge for him in the upcoming year.
“I challenge you to get on the honor roll and remain there,” he said. “I want you to get the credits you need to graduate and be an inspiration to others.”
Williams said maintaining high grades was only one of the many goals he plans to achieve.
“I'm going to talk to the football coach after orientation is over today and ask if I can be on the football team,” he said. “My plans are to do well in high school and finish. After that, I plan to attend college, finish there and go into construction. I've been waiting on school to start back this year.”
Washington said mentors, who consist of sophomores, juniors and seniors, were on hand during the orientation Tuesday to assist freshmen during this transition.
“Freshmen can go to them and ask for help,” he said. “The mentors let us know if there's a problem we need to be made aware of, or they'll tell the freshman student who they need to see to address their problem.”
Washington said parents are also a major force in the success of new students.
“We're inviting parents to communicate any concerns they have with us,” he said. “This is a joint effort between home and school in shaping the future.”