With wide smiles, nervous laughter and a few jitters, incoming freshmen filled the Harker Heights High School auditorium on Aug. 14 for Knight Camp.

The annual orientation for the school’s youngest newcomers kicked off with performances by the dance teams and cheerleaders, leading into readiness stations spread across the campus.

“(The orientation) is to get them acclimated,” said Sarah Salter, director for high school curriculum and instruction. She estimates the high school will see about 733 incoming freshmen this year.

A few parents watched in the auditorium as students clad in bright green T-shirts participated in icebreakers before taking a tour of the school.

Meanwhile, in the gym, clubs gathered to recruit new members and show off their accomplishments.

Audrea Pettaway, Student Council president and senior, welcomed freshmen to her booth, which stood alongside booths for the Spanish and French clubs, the Animation Club and Interact Club.

“We’re running a game to get the freshmen oriented with the school,” Pettaway said.

Each student had a bingo card to fill out as they visited different areas on campus.

She, along with Ximia Moore, vice president and a junior, have been working for several weeks to prepare for the orientation day.

Pettaway emphasized that anyone is welcome to join the Student Council.

This year, she is looking forward to homecoming planning and the group’s annual fundraisers for local charities.

In the cafeteria, students cycled through stations to receive locker assignments, textbooks for each class and school ID cards.

Incoming freshmen Aurea Holstein, Brianna Clark and Alyssa Frechette gathered in the hallway, eagerly awaiting their next station. The three friends from Union Grove Middle School are more than ready for the new year to begin.

Frechette plays the flute in the marching band and has been practicing daily for several weeks.

“I’ve already met a bunch of new people,” she said. “I’m excited to start.”

For Clark, it was her first time in the school and she was happy to have a chance to look around before classes begin. “It’s a big school. It’s helpful.”

Holstein, a member of the choir, admitted she felt nervousness along with excitement for the first day.

But one thing all three agreed upon was the hope of avoiding “drama” to enjoy a smooth transition to high school.

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