Freshmen get first taste at orientationPublished 6:02pm Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Dowagiac Union High School opened its doors to incoming freshmen Wednesday for orientation, allowing opportunities for teachers and new students to meet face-to-face.
With nearly 200 new freshmen joining the high school’s hallways Tuesday, orientation provided a chance to learn the location of classrooms and locker combinations. Teachers and administrators were on hand through the two-hour event, guiding students to offices and key areas of the school. Lunch was also provided, letting students try the flow of the lunch line before the first official day.
“It’s nice being here and greeting the kids in the hallway,” Rasma Gertners, math and resource teacher, said. “It’s also a work day for teachers.”
Teches set up classrooms and organized supplies before the first day. Health teacher Andy Kruger said he was glad he could meet students and put faces with names.
“It’s a new batch of students with new personalities each year,” Kruger said. “I like getting to know them.”
Freshman Amber Keene said one thing that surprised her about the orientation is teachers were available to chat and show students their classrooms.
“I’ve met some of them,” Keene said. “It was a good chance to learn where everything is so you don’t get lost that first day.”
Freshman Matthew McCall agreed, stating the opportunity to get yearbook pictures taken was also a surprise.
“I’m glad I came prepared,” McCall said with a smile.
Gertners and Kruger highlighted a unique part of the orientation: Upperclassmen volunteered to give tours and information to freshmen.
“That’s a pretty neat thing,” Kruger said.
Assistant Principal Kelly Millin agreed.
“I had a really good turnout of student leaders, about 25 or so,” Millin said. “It’s great to see them help and start that communication.”
Principal Pieter Hoekstra, new this year to the high school, said the implementation of upperclassmen helpers falls in line with the refocused goal of remediation between students, teachers and staff.
“It boils down to relationships,” Hoekstra said. “We can’t do this business without them.”
Dowagiac Union School administrators will be available before the football game to meet and greet students and parents at 6 p.m. at the field. Senior Night festivities will follow at 6:30 p.m.