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Many firsts in Freshman Orientation

Squats!  / M. Lanetti
Squats! / M. Lanetti

A sleepover, a speaker – and squats.

These were among some of the numerous changes that took place during Freshman Orientation at the end of August. For the first time in years, the freshman slept over on campus during orientation. The O’Neill Center gym housed the 127 freshman for their two-day orientation on August 26-27.

The idea for the sleepover came from school counselors Mrs. Lewis and Ms. Wuetig, who saw during Outdoors Club trips’ that overnight stays with the students built camaraderie among them. They believed this would be particularly beneficial to newer students, by getting them out of their comfort zones.

“It was a lot of fun, because I got to meet some fun kids, and they did a lot of fun activities with us,” said Ryan Gabriel ‘18.

However, according to Josh Hoey ‘18, “for the people who were trying to sleep, it didn’t work out so well.” 

The sleepover aspect was not the only thing that changed this year. The orientation committee brought in Keith Wilford, a motivational speaker who taught here before, to speak to the freshmen.

“He has a great story of perseverance and getting through things,” said Mrs. Lappas, who heads the Orientation Committee. “He was trying to show them that physical endurance and mental endurance go together.”

So, on the second day of orientation, the freshmen all did squats together outside in the area between Duffy and Dougherty.

“He was interesting, for sure,” said Scott Sander ‘18. “The squats he made us do got hard after a while, but he seemed like a nice guy and I thought he did a good job. 

The freshmen also had the opportunity to be introduced to the arts program at Malvern in a whole new way, according to Mrs. Lappas.

Instead of just being told about the types of art classes that Malvern offers, freshmen were afforded the opportunity to sit down with the teachers of the classes they were interested in.

“I think most people understand the athletic component here,” said Mrs. Lappas. “But I think a lot of kids don’t seek out their artistic side as younger kids.”

“And I think introducing them to [the arts] during their first week here is extremely important, because our arts program is phenomenal.”

Another source of help for the freshmen was the Adelphia Society, which is in its second year of operation.

The program allowed the freshmen to be introduced to a junior who would be their mentor over the next 2 years. The junior would mentor a group of 3 freshmen, who would hopefully form a bond with the other two mentees, said Mrs. Lappas. 

The main theme of the change this year was to let the freshmen learn what they wanted to know on a need to know basis, according to Mrs. Lappas.

This decision to change orientation came from the Orientation Committee, which was put together by the Strategic Initiative and included Mrs. Lapps, Dr. Fry, Mrs. Day, Ms. Wuetig, and Mrs. Lewis.

As a team, they organized a mission statement saying that they would make sure that freshmen would “start their high school career anxiety free.”

“It was awesome because it gave me 5 or 6 people to work with, who obviously had a new perspective,” said Mrs. Lappas.

Lappas felt like the organization of orientation had fallen all on her in the past. Orientation was much different this year, and according to Mrs. Lappas, it achieved a primary goal.

“From day one when classes started…kids knew each other. It was almost like the first day of school was a month in. It seemed like everyone knew each other because they had formed little bonds with each other during orientation.”

Dan Taylor ’18 agrees. “The activities we did…really gave [me] a good feel for the school. Everything we did, I thought it brought us closer to our future classmates and teachers.”

 

 

About Matt Kropiewnicki

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