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West Welcomes Class of 2021

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The class of 2021 was welcomed with open arms at Niles West’s freshman orientation, which took place on August 10th. Along with receiving their textbooks and locker assignments, the freshman class experienced a day filled with ice-breakers and activities.

Niles West aims to create a comfortable environment each year’s freshman class. Over the past couple of years, West has paired up with Focus Training, an interactive leadership development company that helps out during orientation. A representative comes down and has outdoor activities planned out designed specifically to help ease any apprehension that the students might have.

Not only did the freshmen meet the other student in their homerooms, but also their mentors. There are two to three mentors per homeroom that are provided as guidance. The mentors will stay with their designated homeroom for the year, visiting a couple days a week to check in.

Senior Simone Perrin, a first-year mentor, thought that the orientation went smoothly overall.

“I thought that all the mentors, teachers, counselors, and other staff did an awesome job making the freshmen feel welcomed and comfortable. With the outdoor activities, tour, books, pictures, and assembly, the freshmen were always busy socializing with one another,” Perrin said.

Junior Caelin Muniz felt that her freshmen were respectful and cooperative, despite being unfamiliar with everything around them.

“Some of the freshmen were rowdy but during the games, we all came together and participated. Although some of them didn’t want to, we found ways to include them,” Muniz said. “I feel that the activities were good for getting us comfortable with one another and helped build a small foundation.”

Due to recent budget cuts, the freshmen no longer were able to receive t-shirts as they had in past years, and instead had colored cinch bags. Junior Ryan Lam noticed this but still felt that orientation was still an enjoyable experience for everyone.

“I think the outdoor games were fun for everyone and helped make everyone comfortable with each other,” Lam said. “I just didn’t like how the freshmen didn’t get the shirts like they always do. Some freshmen ended up forgetting their bags outside. The t-shirts would also help spot people in your group a lot easier.”

While the majority of the mentors thought that orientation was great, freshmen voiced their opinions on how things could have been better, especially when it came to the games.

“I didn’t like that we were with the same people all day because we didn’t really have a chance to meet a lot of other people. I also didn’t love the activities, and other people didn’t think they were very fun either. There could have been more engaging activities.” Freshman Evan Arvizu said.

“I didn’t like how we didn’t get to see our classes,” Freshman Christine Nguyen said. “I would have liked it better if there were fewer games and if it was more focused on an actual tour of the school.”

“It was fun meeting the kids in my homeroom since I’ll be with them for the next four years, but the team building activities were quite boring. Overall though I learned a lot, especially where the important parts of the school are located,” Freshman Eden Melamed said.

The class of 2021 will begin their 4 years journey in Niles West on August 16th, the first day of school.

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