As the salty scent of the sea becomes the smell of crisp autumn air, and bathing suits are traded in for warm, knit sweaters, students everywhere are forced to accept the fact that summer has ended and back-to-school season has officially begun. Colorful popsicles and refreshing watermelon snacks are exchanged for apple cider and pumpkin pie, while tan lines leave reminders of a blissful summer vacation. Students gathered their school materials, sharpened their pencils, and crammed in some last minute summer reading before the start of the new school year.
As Watchung Hills’ students entered the building for their first day of the 2017-2018 school year, an array of emotions were experienced. Seniors were bittersweet about their last first day but excited to make their last year of high school the most memorable one yet. Meanwhile, freshmen experienced their first classes as high school students, full of new faces and names. Juniors and sophomores alike reunited with friends and recounted stories of the summer. Watchung Hills’ students accomplished great things over the summer ranging from exploring foreign lands to conducting research to training rigorously in their sport. Others soaked up the sun along the shore, interned at law offices, attended summer programs across the nation, or prepared for college applications.
Although nobody wanted to let their summer adventures go, many students were excited to return to school and begin the fall sports season. With most sports teams beginning pre-season training in August, Warrior athletes are prepared to bring their A-game and set records this year. During pre-season training and practices, freshmen involved in fall sports were given an early opportunity to form bonds with fellow freshmen as well as upperclassmen so they could be greeted with familiar faces on the intimidating first day of high school.
A sport that is a large part of the Warrior culture and tradition is football, and like always, WHRHS students look forward to attending Varsity football games, dressing up for each game’s designated theme, and showing full-spirited support for the team. However, sports teams are not the only ones who have gotten a head start on the school year. Watchung Hills’ Marching Band started practicing in August as well, learning new music and marching patterns for the upcoming season.
Along with the excitement and fun of sports, however, the start of the school year also signals an influx of schoolwork as students become inundated with essays, tests, and projects alike. One of the first assignments given to students at the start of each school year involves the assigned summer reading books. Each English class level is assigned a specific set of texts to become familiar with over the summer with an additional book assigned to every student at Watchung Hills, known as the school-wide summer reading book. This year’s selection for the school-wide book was Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids by Susan Cain with Gregory Mone and Erica Moroz. The book focuses on introverted kids and teenagers, specifically within a school environment, discussing the powers of introverts and recounting stories of introverts who have stepped outside of their comfort zones and discovered success. With many introverted students struggling to stand out in classroom settings oriented towards extroverts, this book is sure to create insightful discussions within Watchung Hills’ English classrooms.
On another note, the start of this school year brings the start of the implementation of a new Physical Education system, in which students remain in the same gym class with the same classmates and teacher for the full school year rather than changing classes depending on their choice of activity each quarter. The new system was met with mixed sentiments when it was announced at the end of the past school year, but as with all new things, time must be taken to adapt to it.
All in all, although most students are reluctant to let their summer experiences fade to memory in exchange for late nights of studying and early morning bus rides, a new school year signifies new experiences, endeavors, and excitement for all students. As another first day of school picture is added to photo albums, students look forward to creating more memories and achieving wonderful things this 2017-2018 school year.