COPPERAS COVE — An energetic group of teens packed the seats of the Lea Ledger Auditorium on Thursday as the Copperas Cove Independent School District welcomed its latest crop of high school freshmen.

Copperas Cove High School’s annual “Bulldawg Welcome” is an assembly and orientation designed to prepare ninth-graders for their first year of high school.

“This is a chance for them to get to know what to expect on their first day of high school and

beyond,”said Andrea West, the high school’s ninth-grade principal. “They also get the chance to meet other students and school staff.”

For 14-year-old Wade Jackson, the welcome was a chance to meet his peers and teachers.

“It’s a chance to meet everybody and make a good first impression,” said Jackson, who attended S.C. Lee Junior High School last year.

The event kicked off with an opening assembly, followed by a tour of the campus led by Cove High School’s Bulldawg Link Crew.

The crew members are upperclassmen who offered helpful advice.

“We want them to get to know us, and ask us questions,” said Savannah Rodriguez, a 16-year-old junior.

“I think a lot of (freshmen) worry that everyone’s going to be against them, but we want them to know that the upperclassmen are here to help them out.”

Rodriguez said that support wouldn’t end after Thursday’s orientation.

“We will also be in contact with them for the first few weeks of school,” Rodriguez said. “We want them to feel comfortable and welcomed at their new school.”

That strategy appeared to work for Ronique Williams, who said he was looking forward to starting his first year of high school.

“I was ready to get out of middle school and move up,” Williams said. “I’m a little nervous, but I am definitely ready to get started with high school.”

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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