It’s no surprise that the pandemic has hit many high school students hard. Between online school, not being able to tour college campuses and demanding workloads, school has been harder than ever. Unfortunately, Covid also made it impossible for Concord Academy to have its traditional orientation in which new students come to campus a few days before classes begin in order to acquaint themselves with their peers.
This year, orientation underwent some Covid-safe modifications. For a few weeks before school started, new CA students and orientation leaders attended weekly zoom meetings where they played games. These games allowed for new and current CA students to better acquaint themselves with one another. As an orientation leader, seeing such optimistic new students was refreshing and joyous.The class of 2024 has faced difficult challenges in their first year of high school, but seeing these students be so chameleon-like in their flexibility made online orientation great.
On Saturday, January 30th, orientation leaders and new students joined together for a second round of orientation. With such a mix of students online and in-person, this 2nd round was a great opportunity to check in with new students and determine how we could make their experiences better.
This orientation was split into 3 sections. The first was a game of Kahoot led by Interim Dean of Faculty Laura Twichell ’01 and Dean of Academic Programming and Equity, Robert Munro. In this Kahoot, questions ranged from Twichell’s worst fear, to where mental health resources could be found throughout the school.
The second section was a small meet-and-greet led by Director of Health & Student Support Services/Dean of Testing Jeff Dejarlais. New students moved around strategically-placed chairs as they briefly discussed favorite classes and preferred superpowers with orientation leaders.
The last section of orientation was a scavenger hunt led by Student Activities Coordinator Brett Kelly in which new students went around the school for a scavenger hunt finding letters that spelled out the word equity.
Last year, CA’s mission statement underwent a change in which new words such as equity made their debut. “ We are a community animated by a love of learning/Diverse and striving for equity.” Equitable is word well fit to orientation’s second round. It is nothing but equitable to give students who have not had the opportunity to receive a full orientation or a normal transition to CA a more in-depth and more realistic orientation.