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North Marion High School newcomers get warm reception during a welcoming assembly

COURTESY PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Ninth graders Adeline Walters, left, and Claire Leder were thrilled to see all their friends again during freshman orientation Sept. 6.Ninth graders Adeline Walters and Claire Leder summed up the freshman orientation experience on the morning of the big day Tuesday, Sept. 6, at North Marion High School.

"I like it; it's amazing," Walters said. "I was very, very nervous at first, but this is amazing. There are some cheesy parts; there are some funny parts, but I really like it … seeing all my old friends in the gym."

Leder agreed that rejoining the North Marion community after a summer away was wonderful and pushed away some of the first-day jitters. He said being here is different from a recent home-school experience, and he was glad to be back. Yet it will take some getting used to.

"It feels weird to be in high school and to be a freshman," Leder said.

North Marion gave Walters, Leder and all of the other freshmen a warm welcome during a brief assembly in the main gym. The Husky mascot (played by senior David Gabriel Herrera) added cheer. Meanwhile, older students handed out helpful guidance, breaking the crowd into groups to offer tips about clubs, classes and locker assignments. The older students were grouped by candy type (Jolly Ranchers, Laffy Taffy, Pixy Stix, Smarties, Sour Patch Kids, Twizzlers, and were wearing matching colors, cutouts of their candy or candy wrapper head adornments.

Ninth grader Lluvia Perez-Hidalgo enjoyed the festivities and the friendliness of the small-community atmosphere. The welcome meant a lot to Perez-Hidalgo after spending time at a larger high school.

"It was really big; I don't like really big," she said.

After the larger gathering, the older students guided the newcomers to different areas around the school, and one group remained in the main gym. A panel of older students included junior Becca Rand, senior Yadira Romero Navarro, sophomore Peter Crosby, sophomore Abbigail Akin, senior Esmerelda Pacheco Contreras, and junior Anahi Medina.

Romero Navarro led off the discussion with a description of the clubs, and each student shared some of their own experiences or offered a nugget of advice.

Akin noted that passing time is 4 minutes, so you can't talk in the halls then, unless you want to be late for class.

Another tip came from Rand, who explained the power of participation: "The more involved you get in school, the easier it is."

Pacheco Contreras's advice included that students should feel free to try out new clubs and activities.

"Don't be afraid," she said. "If you want to do something, just do your best and go for it. Have your best high school time."

For ninth graders like Walters, Leder and Perez-Hidalgo, it was already starting out pretty well with such a cheerful gathering full of current (and, hopefully, future) friends.

To share stories about the North Marion School District, email Communications Specialist Jillian Daley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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