Back-to-school festivities began this week as incoming high school students attended Round Up events at Turlock and Pitman high schools, braving the summer heat to collect their books and schedules for the quickly-approaching school year.
Students at THS visited six stations around campus, where they gathered supplies such as textbooks and physical education uniforms, and also took their school portraits. Freshmen Bulldogs were treated to a rally with games and a tour of the campus during their first taste of high school, which also included a hot dog lunch.
Incoming freshman Ryan Burch was nervous about making the transition from Turlock Junior High School to THS, but the high school’s Round Up event put him at ease.
“I’m a little nervous because it’s a bigger campus and a lot of new people, but we went all over campus so now I know where to go and where all of my classes are,” said Burch.
Burch and his friend, Hayden Feldman, look forward to high school and the challenging courses that they can now take.
“I’m most excited for Honors Math,” said Feldman. “I hope to go into mathematics someday and be a banker.”
Freshmen Sabrina Hinojosa and Stephanie Gutierrez said that Round Up has helped them get back into the swing of all things school-related.
“It’s fun because we get to see people we haven’t seen all summer,” said Gutierrez. “But, I didn’t even realize school started next week until I was reminded about Round Up.”
Just like Burch and Feldman, Round Up ensured that Gutierrez and Hinojosa will feel prepared to learn on the first day of school.
“I’m not nervous; today has helped us figure out the buildings,” said Hinojosa.
While students at THS went through their Round Up stations without a hitch, PHS students had a more difficult time. With limited shade and longer-than-expected lines, there were multiple cases of heat exhaustion reported on Monday. Two students took trips to the nurse’s office – one with a bloody nose, and the other having passed out after too much time spent in the sun.
According to one group of students who had been standing in line for two hours to get their pictures taken, they hadn’t participated in any Round Up activities yet other than simply waiting their turn. At last year’s PHS Round Up, pictures weren’t taken at the event. The combination of the added station, along with the fact that grade levels 10-12 were being held on the same day, made for a packed house and frustrated parents.
“There’s no shade, no water or anything to rehydrate them,” said Gigi Miller, whose daughter stood in the picture line from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday. “They could have handled it better.”
Students at the end of the line, which trailed from the cafeteria to well past the administration office, were eventually told that they may not get into the cafeteria to take pictures and would have to return to the makeup Round Up, scheduled for Wednesday.
“It should have been more organized,” said senior Harjeet Gill.
Despite the complications of Monday’s Round Up event, the school’s Passage to Pride was a success on Tuesday. Passage to Pride is an annual event held at PHS to help freshmen students get acclimated to high school, complete with a rally, tour and interactions with upperclassmen known as ambassadors.
“The event is really to show them what being a member of the Pride is all about,” said ASB coordinator Eric Reza.
About 80 upperclassmen ambassadors took the group of nearly 400 incoming Pride members under their wings, showing them around the campus that will be their home for the next four years. The ambassadors are students hand-picked by teachers as those who exhibit positive energy and will be positive role models for the new class.
“Their job is to get freshmen to be enthusiastic about school,” said Reza. “The freshmen walk in and don’t know what to expect, then they see the ambassadors dancing and acting goofy and it helps break the ice. It helps them make the transition by knowing that they’re kids just like them and they don’t have to be afraid because everyone is accepting and welcoming.”
After both schools’ Round Up events, students of THS and PHS will go into the new school year ready to both continue and begin their high school experiences. The first day of school for both campuses is Aug. 11.