Fledgling Eagles Take Flight

Freshmen+receive+their+laptops+during+orientation

Freshmen receive their laptops during orientation

Grace Doerfler '18 and Reilly Welsh '16

If anyone, looking at some nervous faces in the crowd that filled the bleachers, doubted the class of 2019’s enthusiasm on the first day of school, that doubt soon dissipated as the OC victory cheer resounded in the Donahue Pavilion early Tuesday morning. It was not yet 8:30 in the morning, and the freshmen were on their feet, bellowing V-I-C-T-O-R-Y with verve —a promising start to freshmen orientation. Approximately 140 girls clad in grey skirts and sweater vests commenced their high school careers on August 25th and spent the day learning about the school, the teachers, and each other.

The school had eagerly awaited these girls for months, working hard to create schedules, beautify the building, and craft lesson plans. Mrs. Ceponis summarized the efforts of administration to prepare for the freshmen, saying, “We try to make the new students feel welcome as soon as they enter the school.”

Many people were certainly  present to help the girls feel welcome. In addition to teachers and administrators, the Student Council Executive Board and student ambassadors were present to assist. As soon as girls walked in, teachers and upperclassmen offered enthusiastic greetings and directed the freshmen to the Donahue Pavilion, where they kicked off their Oakland Catholic experiences.

Throughout the day, freshmen attended multiple sessions where they learned more about Collaborative Community Wednesdays, the Global Competence Initiative, Campus Ministry, and the many other facets of Oakland Catholic’s community. Then, at lunch, the freshmen began to get to know one another and discovered that they are more similar than they realized. The new students share excitement and fears, interests and first impressions.

As their lunch period drew to a close, the freshmen were asked to do one last thing before returning to their busy schedule. Student council members handed out small pieces of colored paper and requested that the girls write down one or more of their hopes and goals for the next four years. Answers varied from making new friends and trying new sports to becoming valedictorian and receiving admission to an Ivy League school. If you’re interested in finding out more about this new class and their ambitions, stop by the bulletin board where you can read them all.

Naturally, the freshmen felt nervous in varying degrees as they began their school year.  Many students worried about meeting new people or not fitting in, and several students voiced concerns about the academics. A two-building campus daunted several newcomers, and most girls had never been in such a large school before. However, excitement drowned out many of the freshmen’s fears. Football games, Spirit Week,  and dances beckoned enticingly. Girls eagerly looked around for new friends, swapped schedules, and found common interests.

Overall, first impressions of Oakland have been positive. “I love everyone here,” said Alana Felix with a smile early Tuesday afternoon, speaking for many of her classmates. She comes to OC from Our Lady of Grace and plans to get involved with sports and clubs. Kennedi Wade, joining the OC community from Pine Richland, is equally enthusiastic to start high school. She  happily explained, “There are a lot of opportunities at OC and I’m excited to make a new beginning.” There are a lot of changes in the lives of the freshmen right now, and some of them will be more of an adjustment than others. Rachel Romano from St. Louise de Marillac said, “The most difficult thing would probably just be getting used to the new buildings and not really knowing anyone.” While all the freshmen are surely trying to adapt to the same things, it will not be long until the Class of 2019 has an abundance of new friendships and knows how to navigate the buildings with ease. Rachel also said she is excited to “get involved with the community at Oakland  and meet new people,” which all of the girls will undoubtedly experience in the weeks, months, and even years to come.

While the freshmen may have been quiet and unsure of themselves as they echoed back the words of the victory cheer to the student ambassadors for the first time, it will not be long until they are screaming it at the top of their lungs.  Enjoy the next four incredible and exciting years of your lives, Class of 2019, because they fly by.