CRESTVIEW — Jade Wrathell’s moment of triumph came after three tries: her hallway locker sprang open.
“Yay! I got it!” she said.
“Now come help me open mine,” her friend, former Shoal River Middle School classmate Avery Worstell said.
The girls are among about 500 new freshmen preparing to enter Crestview High School on Aug. 18. The number is down a bit from last year, Principal Dexter Day said.
“We’re excited" about being high school students, Avery said.
“And scared," Jade said.
Despite the girls’ apprehension, senior Carson Hritz said her experience with the class of 2018 is that “they all pretty much know where they’re going.”
Carson and other students in the Leadership classes served as tour guides during Thursday’s Bulldog Camp, the annual freshman orientation day.
After school starts, the Leadership kids will be mentors and big brothers and sisters to the kids in the groups they ushered around the high school’s warren of hallways.
OPPORTUNITIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Day, a Crestview High alumnus, told students that while many more opportunities await them in high school than they had in middle school, more responsibility is also expected of them.
“You’re coming from an environment that is totally different from where you are today,” Day said during welcoming remarks.
“You’re in high school now. There are more responsibilities, it’s a larger campus, and there are more opportunities than you can imagine.”
The freshmen discovered some of those opportunities during a student activities fair in the gymnasium.
Cody Mauerhan, whose family moved to Crestview from Tucson, Ariz., over the summer, signed up to join SWAT — Students Working Against Tobacco.
“My mom used to smoke,” Cody said. “She switched to e-cigarettes but I’m not sure if that’s any better for her. I signed up to help other kids whose parents smoke.”
ACTIVITIES MEET ACADEMICS
Junior Kean Vonada, president of the Rotary Interact Club, said the community service club already has several projects planned for the new school year.
“We’re going to help at the Baker corn maze and the Rotary’s wild game dinner,” Kean said. “We just try to help people out.”
While stacking plastic foam cups into tower formation at the Math Club’s booth, Zachary Fox said he really hopes to get involved in high school sports.
“One of the things I want to do is play on the baseball team,” he said. “I didn’t make it in middle school.”
Around the room, kids popped balloons with darts at the chorus booth, watched Army JROTC practice drills, kicked balls with the girls’ soccer team, and learned about the Dog Pound’s cheer themes for the coming football season.
While activity opportunities abound, Day reminded incoming students that academics come first.
“You need to take ownership of your education,” he said. “You’re going to have to make a commitment. The choice is yours.”