Ready for Kick-Off
Transitioning from middle school to high school can be scary but upperclassmen at East Rutherford High School are doing their part to help rising freshmen in that transition.
When freshmen stop by the school for its annual Freshmen Kick-Off on Thursday, Aug. 21 they will be greeted by the smiling faces of their mentors also known as big brothers and big sisters. These students applied to help during the kick-off and the 55 selected spent four hours on Thursday going through the necessary training.
"I did it last year and it's a good opportunity to welcome the freshmen," student body president Harrison Wilkerson said. "I've always wanted to make everyone feel welcome and this is a good head start to that."
East Rutherford has held a kick-off for freshmen for seven years. The day is designed for freshmen and parents to learn more about the school. Parents are taken through informational sessions and freshmen go to homeroom with the big brothers and sisters to do activities.
"I think I can be a big help to the freshmen. I decided to do this because I wanted to help them and get to know the new faces," said first time big brother Desmond Stone. "I enjoy being with my group of friends and making new friends."
Monica Lee, executive director of the McNair Foundation who assisted the students with the training, said the kick-off has become a tradition.
"It's good for the bigs, freshmen and parents. They all love it," Lee said. "It's just a good way to start the year."
During the training, the upperclassmen learned ice breakers to do with their freshmen and a dance they will teach to them the day of the kick-off. The upperclassmen will teach the dance to the freshmen and then the groups will perform it together for parents.
"It puts you out of your comfort zone and you have to learn to adapt and perform outside of it," Wilkerson said.
But freshmen aren't the only ones who benefit from the kick-off. East Rutherford staff members agree that upperclassmen also grow from the experience.
"The juniors and seniors get just as much out of it as the freshmen. Their excitement level is tremendous," Sarah McKinney, trainer and operations manager for the McNair Foundation, said. "The whole thing is to create a family environment for the freshmen and give them some familiar faces when they come to school."