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Round-Up Week helps students transition to new schools
Pitman senior and Pride Ambassador Makenna Hanson talks with a group of incoming freshman during the Passage to Pride Round-Up event on Monday. - photo by JONATHAN MCCORKELL / The Journal

For many freshmen the first day of high school can be a scary, intimidating experience. A new school, a bigger campus and hundreds of news kids and teachers can make even the most confident teen have an anxiety attack. The same can also be said for many junior high students.

In recent years the Turlock Unified School District’s junior highs and high schools have helped to smooth the transition between education levels with “Round-Up” events. Round-Ups allow incoming junior high and high school students to meet new peers, tour their new campus, get their schedules, join clubs and, most importantly, listen to advice from older students.

At Pitman High School the Passage to Pride event allows incoming freshman to interact with junior and senior Pride Ambassadors.

“This is a good way to make incoming freshman feel like they are part of a community. The first day of school they can feel accepted and know something and they can begin to take ownership of their school,” said Passage to Pride co-coordinator and 10th grade English teacher Julie Perino. The other coordinator is social studies teacher and freshman football coach Eric Reza.

Senior Pride Ambassadors Steven Kah and Leanna Jasek-Rysdahl praised the event as an excellent ice-breaker and a chance for seniors to help out freshman in their first few weeks of high school.

During the day’s events students played a game of social bingo, two-truths and a lie, and numerous impromptu games of duck, duck goose started.

Most incoming freshmen were eager to ask seniors and juniors about life on campus and the learning environment at Pitman.

Jasek-Rysdahl encouraged students to participate in extra-curricular activities and interact with teachers.

“You’ll have a lot more fun the more activities you do and you’ll meet a lot of amazing people and good teachers,” she said.

Over at Dutcher Middle School, Natasha Roof, mother of incoming seventh grader Karissa Roof was impressed with the experience of Round-Up and Dutcher’s organization level.

 “It was very well organized, my son also did Round-UP a few years ago and it’s a great experience for the kids. Karissa is very excited,” she said.

At Dutcher students obtained their books, schedules and physical education clothes, along with the opportunity to join clubs and obtain student handbooks.

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.