Wednesday, May 22, 2019
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20180424 SHSOrientationOn Tuesday, Anapaula Martinez took her first steps toward the start of her high school career.

She, as well as other 8th grade students from B.L. Gray Jr. High School, attended Sharyland High School’s freshman orientation to be familiarized with the campus.

“I’m nervous, but also excited to be here,” Martinez said. “I have older cousins who’ve attended the school but I’d be the first in my immediate family to attend here. I’m going to become the older sibling that makes her own memories and tells them to her younger relatives.”

Martinez and her classmates attended the freshman orientation earlier which was created to introduce students to the school they will graduate from in 2022.

The orientation began with a welcome ceremony from SHS Principal Lori Ann Garza and other administrators.

At the ceremony, the incoming freshmen were treated to performances from the SHS Band, Diamond Dancers, Mariachi and Folklorico group and more.

The performances were a way to get the students excited for the many organizations and clubs on campus, Garza said.

In her speech, Garza highlighted the many achievements all the campus’ organizations have achieved. They include the band, indoor percussion, colorguard and choir advancing to compete at the state level, the Sharyland Rattler Football Team advancing to area and multiple individual athletes advancing to state.

“The minute you walk into this campus, you are creating a whole new portfolio for yourself,” Garza told students during the welcome ceremony. “Junior high school is important, it builds you; but high school is when everything you’ve learned comes into play. You have no way of knowing what will happen to you unless you get involved and participate in school. You have to.”

Incoming Freshman Camila Bazarte said as of now, her extracurricular interests on campus are devoted to the school’s basketball and volleyball teams.

“I have an older brother who is in the school’s powerlifting team and everything he says about how competitive and intense athletics are at the high school level are exciting,” Bazarte said.

Bazarte and her friends were attending a student activity fair at the gym that showcased all the organizations the high school provides. They all agreed the freshman orientation served as a good preparation for students about to attend SHS.

“For all of us, it’s the first time we’ve been in the high school,” Bazarte said. “It’s kind of intimidating being here and seeing how different it is from junior high so we’re getting to know the place so we don’t get lost when we need to find our classes here.”

Besides familiarizing themselves with the campus, B.l.
Gray Assistant Principal Juan Heredia said he hopes his students leave the orientation with a sense of pride for their new school.

“For a lot of these students, high school is their [Mount] Olympus, it’s big and intimidating and their life in school has been building them up for this next step,” Heredia said. “ We definitely want to instill that sense of school pride in them. It’s kind of abstract for them now since they’re still not students here but once they see it they will start becoming part of it.”

Before becoming principal at SHS last year, Garza served as principal for B.L. Gray for seven years, and is by now familiar with the reactions many of the incoming freshmen have after their orientation.

“This is the first realization for them that they are now high school students,” Garza said. “They’re coming from the junior high school which is a secluded area compared to the high school and are being introduced to having a lot more freedom and opportunities. They are now young adults with a level of professionalism and accountability we expect of them, they understand that.”