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The class of 2013 began their high school career on Monday during freshman orientation with the help from 73 upper class mentors showing them the ropes.
The 166 new freshman were paired up with juniors and seniors from Carroll County high school in a ratio of two to one to learn where their classes are, how to unlock their lockers and how to find important areas of the high school, guidance counselor Sheree Richter explained.
The mentors dressed in orange T-shirts showed their charges how to use a combination lock and then walk through their entire class schedule so they knew where everything was. Mentors T-shirts were emblazoned with Panthers Kick-off Mentors on the front and P-KOM on the back.
The building was getting its final coat of paint and cleaning was ongoing Monday, Aug. 3 during orientation.
The office filled to overflowing with students asking questions about schedules, as secretary Richelle Wheeler handled each request in her customary cheery attitude.
“It’s been so boring here without the kids,” she said. “I really miss them.”
Wheeler was still making locker changes four hours later trying to make certain that students lockers were near their first period class and that they could actually reach the locker assigned.
Principal John Leeper was bombarded with questions as students stood waiting for answers crowded around him in the office.
The mentors are expected to arrive early clad in their orange T-shirts on the first day of school, Thursday, Aug. 6 ready to answer any questions from the underclassmen and help them through that first day, Richter explained.
With the mentor system in place, students not only know each other, but they also know older students and have made a connection with some of them, Richter said.
“Parents are beginning to see the relevance of getting their students in here just a few days in advance and let them get a feel for the place,” Leeper said. “It’s very important for us getting off on the right foot. Only 20 of the freshmen did not show and that’s a tremendous percentage.”
An old school rite of passage was the threat of throwing freshman in the bushes surrounding the school. Monday there were only friendly smiling faces trying to be helpful to those attending.