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Freshmen Get Ready for New School Year

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St. Joseph’s Academy’s incoming freshman class participated in Computer Orientation sessions during the weeks of July 17 and July 24. The members of the Academy class of 2021 received their tablet computers and were trained in their use during one of two week-long sessions.

In addition to classroom time, the new freshmen toured campus and learned about life as an Academy student.

SJA faculty members, students and recent graduates led the training. Members of the Technology Team helped facilitate the process, and faculty member Aubrey Cucullu DeJohn served as coordinator of the sessions.

“We were thrilled to welcome the class of 2021 to campus the past two weeks,” DeJohn said. “Between learning the ins and outs of their new computers and finding their way around campus, they have worked so hard. The faculty, staff and student workers enjoyed working with them, and we cannot wait to have them on campus within the new few weeks as we start the school year.”

Faculty members leading the sessions were Hugo Andricain, Joanne Campbell, Lori Harper, Kate Hutcheson, Kevin Landry, Sarah McCann, Shelly O’Dowd, MJ Supan and Lee-Ann Vidal. Recent graduates working with the freshmen were Caroline Balhoff, Mi’yana Solomon and Jenny Tran. They were joined by current students Raquel Hodgeson, Sydney Keller, Eden Landry, Kate Landry, Grace Richardson, Ainsley Schulte, Hannah Vautrot and An Vu.

“Computer Apps went very well,” McCann said. “It’s always wonderful to meet the incoming freshmen and to see them branch out and make new friends. The course was a great way to introduce the students to not only their laptops, but to the inner workings of the Academy. They became very familiar with the campus which, to most of them, appears huge compared to the middle schools they are coming from. It was also nice to have excellent student workers in all of the classes. The girls love to learn from their peers, especially when it’s someone they can look up to.”

Balhoff, a 2017 Academy graduate, said she enjoyed working with the newest members of the SJA student body. “They are so eager to learn in a new environment,” she said. “I also love showing the girls around campus and teaching them the ropes about SJA and being a Sticker. Computer Apps is great because incoming freshmen are able to meet and work with their new classmates. It is amazing to see the growth of each student from the first time they start up their laptop until they leave at the end of the week. I can already tell this new class is going to be a great one.”

Junior Ainsley Schulte said it was rewarding to watch the new freshmen grow over the course of their weeklong session. “I was a little unsure when it started,” she said. “All of the girls were quiet and nervous, which is to be expected, but I thought, ‘This will be a week of awkward silence.’ But as the week went on, I realized I was extremely wrong. I learned that the group of girls I worked with were kind and outgoing. Each of them had a wonderful personality and light buried underneath the shy, unsure, ‘new freshman’ personality they had when they came in. I’ve always been a natural leader at heart, so I enjoyed showing the students how truly amazing our school is and leading them through their first steps as a Sticker. It really was a gratifying experience.”

Junior Kate Landry said she especially enjoyed helping the new students discover the capabilities of their tablet computers. “A lot of them were surprised that they got so much liberty with the laptops,” she said. “So many girls were pleasantly surprised whenever they found out they could change their background or customize their desktop color. Also, they seemed to enjoy the scavenger hunt because they were able to walk around without having to be supervised, which is a big change from middle school. I think they’ll enjoy finding different clubs or athletic teams that they fit into and have fun with.”

Solomon, a member of the SJA class of 2017, said she thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with the new freshmen. “It’s always fun to meet the newbies before everyone else does,” she said. “You form a little bond with them, and you get to be their go-to person. They liked getting to know the campus through scavenger hunts and meeting new people in their class. By the end of the week, they all had each other’s emails and numbers to keep in contact. SJA has something for everyone, so it will be easy for them to get the hang of things and feel a part of the family.”

Junior Hannah Grace Vautrot said working with the new class reminded her of her first days on SJA’s campus just two years ago. “I remember when I was in their same place, getting lost on campus and wondering how on earth I would fit into this SJA community,” she said. “Now as a junior, I have blended into this environment so well. It’s interesting to think that these shy and nervous freshmen will come to do the same one day. When the floor was open for any questions they had, most of them were fears about getting lost or worrying about upperclassmen, but I assured them that if I could survive freshman year, so could they. I think what they will enjoy most is the freedom that comes with entering high school along with all of the wonderful opportunities they will have here. I’m excited to go to school with them this year and help them find their way around campus.”

 

Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Communications Director

 

Photos by Jennifer M. Fontaine

 

Date posted: July 28, 2017

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