There was a flurry of activity at Farmington High School six days before the start of the 2018-19 school year.
Gathered in the Black Knight Fieldhouse were more than 100 members of the Class of 2022 – getting a head start on a new chapter in their lives with a day of team building activities, locker relay and a chance to get to know the seminar group they will be a part of for the next four years.
Principal Jamie LaMonds said the Freshman/New Student Academy came about as school staff begins work on building the character education program in the school. She noted the school is modeling their program after the one at Farmington Middle School – which received a National School of Character from Character.org last spring.
“Our extended character committee got together one day and talked about all the things we needed to work on,” she said. “Our staff jumped right in and decided one of the biggest things, of course, is making every kid feel like they belong, how important that is and how hard it is to be new (students) … everybody have a good time together and make sure that students, whether they’re freshmen or brand new students – when they walk in that front door they feel welcome here.
“I think that can change everyone’s sense of belonging – everyone’s mindset.”
LaMonds said the Freshman Academy is purely teacher led and driven.
“I have had to do absolutely nothing,” she said of her staff. “They have spent their summer really pioneering this and planning it in great detail.”
Registration for the program increased during freshmen registration last week.
LaMonds said the day was modeled after freshman orientation programs held at many colleges and universities.
“We’re blessed enough to have this day where the teachers aren’t required to be here,” she said, “so, it’s a day we had built into the schedule.”
Jadyn Dennis and Molly Greif are two incoming freshman in Sharon Reeves’ seminar program.
Dennis said she wanted to take part in the orientation day to become familiar with the school. She said the day would give her the opportunity to see how she could become involved.
She is a member of the school’s cheerleading squad and said that’s one aspect she’s looking forward to in her new school.
Molly Grief said she’s started practice with the girls’ tennis team and, like Dennis, enjoys the variety of sporting activities available.
“There’s a lot of stuff to do,” she said, noting she decided to participate in the orientation day to make herself familiar with the campus. “When you’re coming to a new school, you need to know where to go and all the clubs that are available.”
Classes in the Farmington School District start on Thursday.