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Students look ahead as school year inches closer
Round up events help transition from summer
High school roundup1
Lauren Edh was one of several summer work program participants who helped to hand out textbooks during Turlock High’s round up (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

With the start of August comes the beginning of back-to-school festivities, and this week high school students braved the summer heat — and early hours — to collect their books and schedules for the fast-approaching academic year.

The first day of school for students throughout Turlock Unified School District is Aug. 12, and ahead of the 2019-2020 school year, freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors from both Turlock and Pitman high schools were welcomed back onto campus for the schools’ respective round up events on Monday and Tuesday.

“It’s pretty overwhelming,” THS junior Decimas Guzman said. “It’s our first time coming back since last school year and it’s pretty early, so we’re all super tired.”

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Shanti Murrieta and Isabella Malm look over their new textbooks at Pitman’s round up on Tuesday (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

Students at both high schools visited stations around campus, where they turned in paperwork and gathered supplies like textbooks and physical education uniforms and also took their school portraits.

Freshmen Bulldogs were treated to their own Link Crew Orientation on Aug. 2, where seniors and juniors served as leaders and mentors to help make the lower classmen’s transition into high school easier. Freshmen at PHS participated in the annual Passage to Pride event, where students were welcomed by the school’s cheerleaders, the Marching Pride and even some fun and games.

While TUSD’s incoming freshmen prepare to begin high school, juniors at round up events this week reflected on just how far they’ve come and the two short years they have left in the experience. It’s a time period where many students start to think about their future professions and when many apply to college.

“It’s pretty exciting,” PHS junior Nikolas Salazar said. “I’m kind of growing up before I even know it.”

There’s plenty for Salazar to look forward to this school year, he said, like trying out for the baseball team and participating in electives like Pitman’s photojournalism class. Fellow junior Brooke Willis is looking forward to her time on the swim team this year, she said, and is also taking classes she hopes can one day help her in her future career.

“We’re upper classmen and it feels great,” Willis said. “I’m looking forward to my criminal justice class because I’ve always wanted to be in law enforcement and this could help me get into that field.”

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In addition to receiving their new class schedules and books, students at Turlock High School also took portraits for their new ID cards during Tuesday’s round up (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

There are even future veterinarians attending PHS, like junior Isabella Malm, who has her sights set on the University of California, Davis, and is preparing by taking a veterinary science course. Even at round up, Malm said she’s already aware of the work load junior year can bring.

“The classes are getting harder and there’s a lot more pressure from colleges,” she said. “It’s daunting, but today’s been fun. Running around and seeing everyone’s schedules is exciting.”

There are opportunities at both campuses for artistic development as well, regardless of whether or not a student plans on pursuing their chosen medium after high school or not. Guzman is most excited for his drama class at THS, he said, with the main reason being most of his friends are taking the course as well.

THS junior Jessica Ayala will finally be in the Chamber Orchestra this year, after two years of playing the violin in Concert Orchestra.

“I’m excited about it because it’s a new challenge,” she said.

Ayala’s friend and fellow THS junior Marilena Armendariz will be taking photography for the first time.

“I’ve always been interested in capturing beauty in pictures,” Armendariz said. “That’s always been my thing, so taking photography was a must.”

As she received her class schedule and books on Tuesday, THS junior Elia Bustos gave thought to just how soon she’d be pursuing an even higher education.

“It’s scary and I’m nervous. Our high school years are almost coming to an end and after that we go to college,” Bustos said. “I’ve always thought about college because I know that I want to finish school and go into a profession, so the nerves come even more as it comes nearer and nearer.”