Photos courtesy of the Wantagh School District
As Wantagh High School ninth graders traveled to their new school on Aug. 26, they took a familiar route. The building is connected to the middle school, where they spent the last three years, but there are a lot of differences and that’s what they learned about during freshmen orientation.
The following Monday, sixth graders from Wantagh’s three elementary schools made their way to the secondary complex for the first time for their own orientation. Filling that void of students who now attend school on the other side of the Colonnade, about 220 sixth graders discovered the differences between elementary and secondary schools – changing classes, having lockers and a wealth of clubs to join.
Wantagh Middle School Principal Anthony Ciuffo welcomed both students and parents during a pair of informational programs in the cafeteria. He explained that it was important for parents to be there too, to see the place their students will spend six hours a day, for 180 days a year, for the next three years.
After he and Assistant Principal Rachel Quattrocchi provided information about the sixth-grade schedule, drop-off procedures, lunch and recess, extracurricular activities and some social media safety tips, it was time to tour the school. Students found their classrooms and opened their lockers for the first time, many taking the opportunity to decorate.
At freshman orientation, 215 new high school students were given tours of the building by upperclassmen and attended informational sessions with Principal Dr. Paul Guzzone and assistant principals Nick Pappas and Dr. Christopher Widmann. There was also a club fair so ninth graders could explore the many extracurricular options and ask questions of club officers.
Dr. Guzzone emphasized that the next four years are about building the skills necessary to succeed beyond high school, such as resiliency, a strong work ethic and time management. He noted that there is a vast support system of adults who are all there to help students make their most of the experience.
“I want our incoming ninth graders to feel excited that they’re coming into a new year and a new experience,” he said. “I want them to feel connected and I want them to know that we care about them.”