There were many signs that a new school year was starting up at Edward Little. The school itself was being cleaned up and put in order, the playing fields were busy with athletes training in their sports, and a new class arrived at E.L. to begin the first of their four years of high school education.

On Thursday Sept. 2, the freshman class arrived at E.L. for their second day of freshman orientation. The first day of orientation had consisted of the students visiting all their classes in one day, but during their second day of high school, the freshmen would participate in something a little different.

The 250 kids who make up the class of 2008 were now greeted to a school full of students, grades 9-12. High school in general, especially one as large as Edward Little, can be intimidating for new students, and the orientation, and Project Adventure were designed to make the transition from middle school to high school easier. Given different colored t-shirts, and split into teams, the freshmen were to spend the day participating in team building activities, from an egg drop, to simple problem solving tasks. A group of 30 volunteers made up of teachers, Army National Guard members, administrators, and students facilitated the day’s activities.

Project Adventure was first added to freshman orientation last year.

This activity, spearheaded by Assistant Principal Steven Galway, was designed to bring together the freshman class. Galway felt that by working together to achieve common goals, the students would be unified as a class. ‘Project Adventure’ is a way for the kids to get to know each other,” Galway said, “Kids who might not have interacted with each other get the chance to meet and work together through this day.” He hopes that the lessons the freshmen learn the first day will carry over socially and academically over their four years at E.L.

The day’s activities cost nothing to the school, according to Galway.

The Army National Guard participated in the activities and trained the volunteers as a service to the community. The free lunch the students received was from the E.L. cafeteria, and the bottled water that was provided came free from Poland Springs.

When asked if he thought that Project Adventure made any difference in the attitudes and behaviors of last year’s freshman class, Galway answered “Yes, They know what to expect, they work resolving problems better.”

Overall, the freshmen who participated in the two day orientation enjoyed it. “It was a chance to meet new people,” said freshman Woody Mawhinny. Dan Caron, another member of the 2008 class, felt that the orientation was valuable “as far as getting to know people.” After being separated by teams at AMS, many freshmen felt that Project Adventure, if nothing else, was a good way to meet their fellow students who they would be spending the next four years with.

The class of 2007, who were the first students to experience Project Adventure, generally reflect on it as a positive experience. “It took down some walls,” said sophomore Calvin Bergeron, “It made for a smoother transition.”

There are plans in place to continue the Project Adventure aspects of freshman orientation here at E.L in upcoming years, according to members of the administration. Assistant Principal Galway hopes that the class of 2008 will mentor next year’s incoming freshmen, and that, in time, the orientation can become a self sustaining project, led by the previous year’s freshmen. Ideally, it would be a student run activity. Galway adds that “Building a natural peer relationship is one of the main goals of the orientation,” as is “using it as a tool to break down stereotypes and cliques among students and classes.”

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