SCARSDALE, N.Y. – With school set to start on Tuesday, freshmen in Scarsdale got their first taste of the high school this week, as they familiarized themselves with their home for the next four years at orientation.
The students were introduced to the staff, online networks and spacious school grounds during a two-day orientation that culminated with a freshmen barbecue Thursday afternoon. Peer leaders joined the faculty in guiding the new students around, giving them advice and answering a myriad of questions.
Librarian Phyllis DiBianco said the school is in for an exciting year, with new administrators, teachers and students getting familiar with the district.
“It’s exciting, and it’s hectic. It’s very quiet during the summer, so it’s always great to have the kids back,” she said. “Our new [principal] is thoughtful, smart and listens. He seems to focus on what people want. I expect it to be a great year.”
DiBianco said the district began hosting freshmen orientation only a few years ago. The two days allow new students the opportunity to get acclimated to the high school without having everything thrown at them at once.
“We do this to get them started. The two days give them a chance to get more comfortable,” she said. “The whole exercise is to get them more familiar with the school, and to start to get to know them individually.”
The freshmen will face several challenges at the beginning of the year. They will have just five minutes between classes to navigate through the vast school, and many will have free time during the day for the first time in their lives.
“I think a big challenge that they face is the freedom that they will have. A lot of new students don’t know how to handle that right away,” DiBianco said. “Finding their way around is also a challenge. That’s why orientation is important. It helps them to feel more comfortable and not be overwhelmed early on.”