A Monday morning countdown marked the beginning of the 2002-03 academic school year for ninth graders at Los Lunas High School.
Freshman Jump Start Day kicked off the New Year Celebration for the Class of 2006 with 175 parents getting involved in their children’s education.
“So far, I’ve liked everything I’ve heard,” said parent Shirley Griego, who attended first day classes with her son, Chris. “This is a new experience for Chris, and I think he’s a little nervous.”
Freshman Andrew Tafoya says the new school year is already off to a good start.
“Summer didn’t last long enough, but we’re ready to be here,” Tafoya said. “I think starting school this year was easier than ever before. We enjoy it more.”
Los Lunas High School’s first-day approach is part of a national movement to involve families in their children’s education.
As part of the first-day lineup, LLHS offered parents information designed to encourage year-round family participation. Parents learned about student eligibility for extracurricular activities, the Renaissance program and student leadership activities.
Both students and parents got a jump start by signing up for activities and events. The freshmen showed an early interest in sports and clubs by adding their names to different organizations’ lists.
Anthony and Mary Juarez, who followed their son, Tony, through his first-day schedule, said it’s good to see he’s prepared. “Both of us came to see his classes and his teachers. We wanted to make sure he has everything he needs,” Anthony Juarez said.
Monday’s Jump Start incorporated an information packet for parents of freshmen. Rhonda Flores, the high school’s career transition specialist, passed out folders filled with facts about the high school, including a map, a bell schedule, a student activity calendar and Career Academy information.
“I heard great things about it,” Flores said. “There were several parents who had planned to stay half the day, but their son or daughter asked them to stay. A lot of them called their work to take the whole day to be with their kids. That was a neat thing.”
Even though it was a day designed for freshmen, upperclassmen were on hand to help ninth-graders get to know the school. “They showed up to help, even without anyone asking them. It was great to see them show a genuine interest. We put them straight to work,” Flores said.
Not only were parents on hand to show support but local businesses who share an interest in education were an important part of this year’s jump-start schedule. Among the businesses in attendance were Bristle’s Art Supplies, Fashion Bug, HairMasters, Maez’s Drilling, Old Mill West-ern Mercantile Store, Pepsi-Cola, Pete’s Carpet Appliance and Furniture, Premier Sportz and Rio Grande Financial Network.
“It was wonderful to see the business participation,” Flores said. “They were able to come and meet the incoming freshman. They had a really fun day. The support of the community was very well received from the students.”
The day gave students and parents a chance to explore the campus in a relaxed setting. This year, the campus is looking at a total student population of 2,300 and the biggest freshman class so far — 750 students.
After lunch, freshmen, accompanied by parents, boarded a bus for a tour of the Career Academy.
“There was no pressure. Jump Start gave them the time to walk around campus and visit their teachers. Many told them it won’t be as easy to move around tomorrow,” Flores said.
“It was a productive day in so many different ways. Just for them to be here was a nice introduction to the campus.”