Weekly Feature



2010-08-26 / Lifestyles

High School 101

East, West help ease transition for incoming freshmen
by SAMANTHA ROBINSON Reporter
Unfortunately, when it comes to high school, there is no manual or “how-to” guide.

Deonna Dolak, left, and Emily Borodzik revisit their old lockers at West Seneca East Senior High School. The two upperclassmen will participate in various welcoming events for the freshmen through Student Council. Deonna Dolak, left, and Emily Borodzik revisit their old lockers at West Seneca East Senior High School. The two upperclassmen will participate in various welcoming events for the freshmen through Student Council. A group of upperclassmen at East and West high schools, however, is making it their mission to better acclimate incoming freshman to their new environments through various activities and events.

The programs offered by East and West high schools are designed to educate the freshmen about the schools, courses and clubs, as well as debunk the common myths and misconceptions associated with the high school experience.

Trisha Walsh, a counselor in the student services department at West, said the welcoming programs are vital in making the new students feel more comfortable and at home.

West Seneca East seniors Emily Osmanski, left, and Leanna Truslow, center, meet with Student Council adviser Dyan Scritchfield to plan events for the incoming freshmen. Photos by John Rusac. Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com West Seneca East seniors Emily Osmanski, left, and Leanna Truslow, center, meet with Student Council adviser Dyan Scritchfield to plan events for the incoming freshmen. Photos by John Rusac. Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com “High school is not just about academics,” said Walsh, who is in charge of the Fresh Start program.

Fresh Start operates in conjunction with freshmen orientation and is designed to let freshmen tour the building, as well as meet other students and staff.

Walsh said she has always received positive feedback from parents and students alike about the program and has seen an increase in former participants coming back and volunteering as leaders.

“We ’re all here to help each other,” said Walsh.

An assembly is held for the freshmen at the beginning of the year as well.

According to Walsh, teachers are also available as a resource for extra help during “Block 5,” which lasts from 2 to 2:40 p.m. every day.

Academic Intervention Services is another avenue for students who need more personalized help in adjusting to high school academics.

At East, Student Council is the largest club, with approximately 121 members. In addition to organizing the annual craft shows and blood drives, the Student Council is also responsible for welcoming the freshmen.

Like the volunteers at West, East student ambassadors wear bright yellow shirts with the words “Need Help?” during freshman orientation, as well as on the first day of school.

A total of 24 sophomores, juniors and seniors at East will be donning the shirts to make themselves more visible as a resource for any student who has questions.

The welcome crew also has the task of dispelling many of the common rumors about East High School, such as the infamous classes in the basement and on the fourth floor — which doesn’t exist. Freshmen usually don’t Freshmen usually don’t get “booked” in the hall, either.

Leanna Truslow, a senior at East and this year’s Student Council president, said it was important for her to help freshmen adjust to high school because she remembers what it’s like.

“It felt welcoming to know there are older people to help you out,” said Truslow.

One of the biggest pieces of advice the Student Council members have given to freshmen over the years is join a club, like Student Council, or another activity, in order to meet new people.

“Get involved, and don’t be intimidated,” said Deonna Dolak, Student Council secretary.

“Be outgoing,” said its treasurer, Emily Borodzik.

Vice President Emily Osmanski also suggested that keeping one’s assignments organized is key to having a successful first year.

“Stay on top of things, and write in your planner,” said Osmanski.

East will hold a club fair in the gym from Sept. 13 through 16, where students will be able to learn about the school’s various organizations from their members.

For more information about upcoming school events and resources, visit the district’s website at www.wscschools. org.

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