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SHS Freshman Orientation – Wisdom from a Student Leader

by Katherine Dunham, SHS Class of 2015

It has been a fantastic first month at the high school! The end of summer is always heartbreaking but the back-to-school transition has been relatively seamless. This is certainly thanks to the many efforts made to ease the jump between grades, especially between middle school and high school.

Freshman orientation, held the week before school began, was incredibly successful. It was an honor to not only participate in orientation but to speak at it. I remember how important that night was for me, what a comfort it was to see all the peer leaders sitting on stage that night and seeing their blue shirts again in the hallways on the first day of school. Now I know how special it is for the peer leaders too, being that we can help the underclassmen in person.

That night, we could all tell what a great addition the Class of 2018 would be to the high school environment. They were nervous but overwhelmingly excited. Now, having met them, I know that those initial impressions were correct. This is going to be a great year!

Following are my remarks from Freshman Orientation Night —

Hi everyone! I’m Katherine Dunham and I’m going to be a senior here at SHS. Becoming a senior is definitely a huge change, second only to becoming a freshman. I remember spending the whole summer leading up to my freshman year worrying about change.

However, quickly into the school year I realized change is not something to fear; at least not here at SHS. Certainly, you’ve already heard the phrase Blue Knight Pride. BKP goes far beyond school spirit, contributing directly to SHS’ supportive atmosphere. When you walk back into the school on Tuesday, you’ll see that BKP isn’t just an abstract, that it is reflected in every student. BKP is a trust the SHS faculty has put in their students coupled with the students’ desire to represent OUR school in the most positive way possible. And in this way, it not only eases change but promotes it.

Sandwich High School students admire personal change in others and seek out ways to make changes of their own. I know that I have changed over the past three years, positive changes but still changes that would have terrified me as a freshman. And it hasn’t been because of any conscious decision I made or goals I had set for myself. Rather, I have been inspired by those around me because wherever you look, you can find Blue Knight Pride.

On the bleachers upstairs, I saw a team of boys bring back the ACL title to SHS for the first time in almost twenty years. Off campus, I watched student volunteers spend their Saturday morning raising the walls of a house. Even from the comfort of my couch, I can watch the best Lip Dub of all time and feel a huge amount of pride over it, even if you can only see a snippet of me at three minutes fourteen seconds.

Blue Knight Pride is infectious, a staple of the SHS community demanding to be felt. I hope that you see BKP in action tonight and that you are inspired by it. I hope that you go on to spend the next four years contributing to BKP and that however you do that, you do it fearlessly. Thank you so much! Have a great night!