Freshmen get to know campus, students

Herald/Steven Doll - Andrew Arocha, incoming freshman to Ellison High School, uses a piece of tube to pass a ball between other students while playing a game Friday afternoon during an orientation camp at the school.

By Todd Martin

Special to the Daily Herald

More than 200 incoming Ellison High School freshmen toured their new school Friday, played a series of get-to-know-you games and learned some do's and don'ts of high school.

First Exploration of Eagle Territory, or FEET Camp worked to acquaint the new students with the building and a few friendly upperclassmen faces.

It also generated some laughs as students watched a fashion show of student leaders demonstrating proper dress code and some typical dress code infractions.

The idea, said journalism teacher Tami Kraft is to orient students to the large high school and to have fun, but also to help more first-year high school students succeed academically from the beginning.

Statistics show the first 30 days of high school plays a critical role in a student's high school experience, Kraft and others involved in the camp said.

Making friends and getting connected early can help ease the transition from middle school to high school.

Groups of about 15 freshmen joined at least four upperclassmen in playing games requiring teamwork and communication.

In one game, students wore names of celebrities on their faces and asked one another questions to guess the name they were wearing.

In another game, students lined up with track segments and tried to form a track to move a ball from one point to another.

Junior Nicholas Holloway, president of Student Council said FEET Camp is an add-on of orientation to allow students to see some of their classes and make some friends.

"We know the first 30 days of high school can determine success for four years," Holloway said. "We want to connect freshmen with other freshmen and we want them to learn about the clubs and organizations."

Several organizations handed out information at the school Friday. Along with Student Council, members of Leadership Academy, Junior ROTC cadets and other student leaders led the camp.

Holloway said even as a junior heavily involved in the school, returning to campus is a transition experience.

"Yes, I'm excited for it to start, but I still have to get back into it," he said.

Kraft said the Student Council would initiate a program this year to hold students accountable to stay up to date on their schoolwork.

"We want to get the word out to freshmen and all students that there is help for those who need it," Kraft said.

Several organizations, she said, planned to work to match up students in need of academic assistance with other students or staff members with expertise to provide the needed help.

School starts in KISD Aug. 23.

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