Administrators and staff at Cherry Hill High School West wanted to give the incoming class of 2018 a welcome unlike no other.
Formerly, incoming freshmen would attend an orientation session with just a presentation and introduction to the school.
“We used to have the kids and parents come in together at night,” Principal Kwame Morton said.
This year, the school decided to let the kids do something more active and fun upon their first visit.
Members of the freshman class attended the school’s first-ever morning orientation on Aug. 27. The event included a number of fun activities such as a scavenger hunt and a barbecue.
Morton said the administration thought the old orientation format was strictly an information session. He wanted the freshmen to have the opportunity to take part in something interactive.
“We wanted to give them more of an experience,” Morton said. “They’re going to go through the building and meet certain people.”
Throughout the morning, groups of freshmen wandered through the building, walking behind teachers, staff and upperclassmen who guided them through the building. Making their way to important stops such as the library, gym, cafeteria and auditorium, the students learned about the building.
Each student carried a sheet with a list of questions about everyday school activities, ranging from describing procedures for going to the library during study hall to quoting the mural on the cafeteria wall.
Student activities coordinator Carole Roskoph said the scavenger hunt was written to have the students listen to staff members when they gave them information and retain it.
“The idea is for the students to learn the building and then answer the questions afterward,” she said.
Some of the stops along the way were interactive. In the auditorium, a group of upperclassmen taught the freshmen how to sing the school’s alma mater. At the school store, students were encouraged to buy a variety of Cherry Hill West gear and were given free Class of 2018 t-shirts.
Following the scavenger hunt, Morton manned the grill and served hamburgers and hotdogs to the freshmen for their first meal at the school. Roskoph said getting the kids to interact prior to the first day of school will get them started on the right foot when classes begin on Sept. 3.
The school kept the night orientation in tact for parents only. The night orientation still addresses many of the topics the old program did, but students no longer have to attend. Students received necessary information such as their homeroom, schedule and locker during the morning orientation.