On Tuesday, Bishop Hendricken High School welcomed their Class of 2017 for Taking Flight, an orientation program designed to make the newest Hawks comfortable on campus and welcome them to the community.
It is a casual day for students, no school uniforms required, and allows them to walk through their schedule, meet teachers and classmates, and find out about other opportunities.
Organized and facilitated by senior peer ministers and other student leaders, the day’s main event was the Hawk Challenge. Freshmen spent just under two hours visiting the classrooms in their schedule, but instead of starting class work, they were greeted by a pair of older students to play games.
Freshmen spent about 10 minutes in each of their seven classrooms completing seven different icebreakers, including Hawko (a Bingo-type game when students had to find out which classmates had specific characteristics or talents), Hawk Trivia, Line-Up (lining up alphabetically or by birthday without speaking), 20 questions and the Human Knot.
“It’s great having students lead the students,” said Jeremy Graney, a freshman biology teacher who joked that Taking Flight was an easy day for teachers because they let the students take over. “They are great facilitators.”
“I just like working with the kids and showing them around the school,” said senior Michael Tarro, who is a member of the Ambassador’s Club and often works Hendricken open houses.
Everyone seemed to be in agreement that the casual day is a great way to welcome new students and make them comfortable.
“It’s great. The freshmen have an opportunity to orient to the building and to meet teachers on a casual basis,” said biology teacher Bob Rakovic. “I think it makes it much easier to acclimate.”
“It takes out a lot of anxiety on the first day of school,” said Graney.
“I was a freshman once. It was difficult at first,” said senior Ryan Rotondo, a student leader for Taking Flight who said it is easier for the freshmen to feel comfortable with experienced students guiding them. “It’s a step up from middle school.”
The newest Hawks seemed to agree.
“It was nice,” said Teddy Jackson, a freshman from Coventry about the program. He said being able to go through the building and find his classes in a casual setting was helpful. Jackson is also familiar with the school: His father and uncle attended and his brother is currently a senior there.
“I was a little nervous, but I think everyone made me feel comfortable,” said Nate Kirshenbaum of Cranston.
The freshmen would also be able to attend three activity fairs (one for sports, one for arts programs and one for other extra-curricular activities), take a class photo and receive class T-shirts. Also, they wrote “A Letter To My Future Self.” A Hendricken tradition, the students write a letter to themselves as freshmen and get it back the night before their graduation.
In addition to the Class of 2017, 23 sophomores and juniors transferring to Hendricken attended an orientation program on the same day. Yesterday and today, the Hendricken orientation process continued with all students attending presentations, taking student photos and picking up books. Classes officially start on Tuesday.