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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Freshmen Reflect on the Sidwell Orientation Experience

Sidwell Friends.
Freshmen are excited to return to Sidwell for high school orientation.

On Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, incoming freshmen attended orientation to familiarize themselves with the Upper School and prepare for the 2023-2024 school year. 

According to Freshman Aayushi Jorgensen, teachers and administrators greeted students, encouraging them to interact with their new classmates. “I promise you are going to appreciate those connections on the first day,” said Jorgenson.

Freshman Brandon Washington added that the experience offered him a great opportunity to see new faces, engage with fellow peers and calm any leftover nerves. “I recommend that the next year’s freshman class listen, make friends and enjoy orientation as much as possible,” said Washington. “If students do that, they will not feel anxious about school and will be ready for its challenges.” 

After greeting students, staff organized several games intended to help students remember everyone’s names and get to know each other. 

 Upper School Theater Arts Teacher Sentell Harper ran the first activity, having all of the students gather together in a unified circle as they utilized their acting skills to introduce themselves to the group. According to Harper, this activity helped students develop confidence and enthusiasm to start their day. 

Upper School Science teacher and Ninth Grade Dean Laura Barosse-Antle said her favorite part of orientation is watching the students get to know each other through these organized activities. 

“It’s awesome to see friendships forming between students who came from Sidwell Middle School and those who are new this year,” said Barosse-Antle. “We have 9th grade Orientation so that 9th graders can get a feel for the campus, culture, and expectations of the Upper School before it truly starts.”

On the second day, the staff focused on the general rules at Sidwell and what would be expected of students as they began to transition into the Upper School. Freshman Naman Gupta noted that this section “helped me learn and remember the rules about cell phones and Loss of Privileges.” 

As part of the orientation’s service-learning component, students were introduced to A Wider Circle, a non-profit organization in Washington that provides food, furniture and clothes to those in need. The freshman class came together and helped contribute to their meaningful cause by packing school backpacks with school supplies for underprivileged kids . This allowed Sidwell students to jumpstart their community involvement and accrue service hours for graduation.

Later in the orientation, students were divided into groups and given mock classes to attend. The formatting was set up just as a typical class day to introduce students to what a school day at Sidwell might look like. 

The activity allowed them to meet people in their mock classes and go over expectations and the syllabus in all of their classes. In each period, they met their teachers, who provided students tips on being organized and attentive in order to succeed in the upcoming year. 

Senior IT Support Specialist James Juice gave all ninth graders new computers at orientation to use for the next four years of school, and they were given a rundown on the basic etiquette to keep the computers in pristine condition and how to properly set up the device. 

“It really eased the transition going into the first day of freshman year because we got a sense of where we would be –– and who we would be with –– for the next four years,” said Jorgensen. 

Freshman Maeve McMurray suggests that for “the next orientation, [the administration should] build in more time for the new ninth graders and the people from the middle school to get to know each other better so that there is less divide at the beginning of the school year.”

Freshman Orientation was an amazing experience that did a great job of exposing us to the different aspects of the Upper School

— Brandon Washington ’27

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