Pasco freshmen get their first taste of high school

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldAugust 29, 2012 

Lizette Miramontes said she arrived for her first day at Pasco High School a little early and a little nervous Tuesday morning.

The former McLoughlin Middle School student didn't see any of her friends at first so she stood near another student who also was waiting.

"She was the only one in the hall and I just said, 'I'm just going to stand here with you,' " said Lizette, 14.

Thousands of freshmen throughout the Tri-Cities started high school Tuesday. In Pasco, about 1,071 new freshmen showed up at the district's two high schools.

School officials and upperclassmen said it can be a jarring experience to transition from middle school to high school, and at the Pasco high schools, that first day is all about easing the transition.

"It's all about creating that sense of ownership of their school," said Charlotte Troxel, assistant principal at Pasco High.

Freshmen were the only students attending high school at Pasco and Chiawana high schools Tuesday. School officials said having only them in the building makes it easier for them to acclimate to their new school without all the upperclassmen.

Not that there weren't any upperclassmen in the school. Junior Allie Wilkinson was one of about 100 older students, called Link Leaders, who were there to work with the freshmen.

Allie, 16, said she remembered being a little overwhelmed when she was a freshman and could tell some of the school's newest students were feeling the same way.

"They came up and were looking at their name tags," Allie said. "We'd ask them what their name is and they'd go, 'Uhhh...' We kind of had to look at their ID badges to help them."

Motivational speaker Micah Jacobson of the Boomerang Project led the Pasco High freshmen through chants and songs and other activities in the gym. Later in the day, upperclassmen gave the new students school tours and worked with them in small groups, something Allie said she was looking forward to.

"I like freshmen. I like new people in school," she said.

Freshman Jake Covington, who came from Stevens Middle School, said the day wasn't what he expected. He said he was glad to be spending time doing fun activities and meeting classmates rather than sitting in class.

The 15-year-old said he wasn't too nervous about school as he's already met some upperclassmen through football practice. However, he expected that rehashing the first day of school could lead to some to extra work at practice.

"We'll probably have to run because we'll be talking too much," he said, laughing.

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