Incoming: Class of 2021

Abbi Kissee

Hundreds of 8th grade students from all over Ripon poured into the North Gym at Ripon High School for the annual 8th Grade Visit Day on Tuesday March 7, 2016. 8th Grade Day is a unique opportunity Ripon 8th graders have to tour the RHS campus, hear presentations from their future teachers and get information about various clubs and activities on campus. Ultimately, the goal is for all the 8th graders in Ripon to choose Ripon High School as the place where they will continue their education.

The high energy day was chock full of a variety of activities to engage and inform the 8th graders. Link Crew, a club devoted to welcoming 8th graders and incoming freshmen, was responsible for carrying out the activities and getting to know the students.

RHS junior Sarah Thompson, Link Crew coordinator, values this event because it helps 8th graders feel calmer on their first day of their freshman year.

“Change can be scary, especially going into high school where you don’t know a lot of the student body. It’s a big change for the 8th graders, but it’s an exciting one. 8th Grade Day helps them get familiar with the high school,” Thompson said.

The day began for the 8th graders with a miniature rally where they were introduced to activities director Mrs. Mortensen, principal Mr. Rangel and vice principal Mr. Ramirez. The main message of the rally regarded perceptions and involvement. Mortensen challenged students with a short video to break through their perceptions about high school, popularity and what’s “cool” so they can better enjoy their high school experience, especially their freshman year. The freshmen were also lead through a cheer for their class, led by Mortensen. The hundreds of 8th graders all cheered together, “We are number one, class of 21!”

After the rally, the 8th graders, were taken to all over campus to visit JROTC and the agriculture department. In addition, they were taken to the library where counselors and freshmen teachers presented academic information. Another stop in the visitation day was the North Gym, where various groups representing a range of extracurricular activities talked about their programs to the incoming students. Students were also able to participate in games that forced them to step outside their comfort zones and interact with new people.

The 8th graders also got to enjoy a barbecue lunch, courtesy of Mr. Patterson and former Link Crew leaders. During their lunch, several groups on campus, including CSF, Interact, GSA and Peer Assistants set up tables for freshmen to get more information.

The day concluded with a tour of the campus where students got the opportunity to witness classes and teachers in action on a typical school day.

Many 8th graders felt the day was beneficial.

“I was scared to come to high school, but everyone here was super nice and positive about the school, and now I’m excited to come here,” said Irma Ycanio. She was not alone in her sentiments.

“I’m excited to meet new people and find more activities that interest me,” Gabriel Herrera said. Fellow 8th grader Ian Torres, agreed.

“I liked seeing the gym and talking about getting involved,” Torres said.

Some thought the opportunity opened their eyes up to what high school is really like.

“Seeing the agriculture department and FFA has helped me make a decision about which classes to take,” said Molly Burton.

The majority of 8th graders that attended the 8th Grade Day are eager to step onto Ripon High in August and become the class of 2021.