Eastern offers camp for incoming freshmen, upperclassmen

Fees waived due to COVID for the two-day program

For the fifth consecutive year, Eastern Regional High School will host its summer transition camp on Aug. 24 and 25, an event that was altered last year by COVID.

“We couldn’t have all the students here at once,” said Phil Smart, vice principal of the Class of 2025, about the 2020 camp. “The student ambassadors put together schedules where students would go through a tour and go from one instructional model to the next  … It was a one-day event, around one hour for the students. This year, every student will be here for eight hours.”

Part of the usual $35 program fee has been waived because of COVID; the $10 cost includes a class T-shirt.

The school anticipates more than 500 students will attend the camp and it has invited both incoming freshmen and returning students. Students and faculty will be required to wear masks.

Smart describes the camp program as more student centered, whereas the normal fall orientation is more adult centered and focuses on the school’s expectations.

“Parents don’t come to the transition camp,” explained Dr. Kristin Borda, Eastern’s director of academic programs and student performance.

Over the course of two days — hours are 2 to 6 p.m. each day — students will  learn the layout of the Eastern building, obtain organizational and time-management skills and connect with other students. Programs will be led by both faculty and members of Student Alliance, a peer leadership group that works with the freshmen class throughout the year.

“I think the student ambassadors do a really nice job of introducing the students to the school: the size, expectations, the areas they can get help if they need it,” Smart noted.

Participants will also have a chance to meet advisors and receive their iPads for the school year to save teachers instructional time during the school year.

“The transition to high school can be challenging for any student who’s leaving eighth grade,” said Borda. “You encounter larger class sizes, an increased workload and the social challenges that come from being the youngest and least experienced students inside the school community.

“… The freshman/new student transition camp is designed to let students know that a little nervousness is normal,” she added, “but that high school can also be an exciting time and the start of very positive lifelong experiences.”