Days before the August 2nd start of school, new students and students making a transition to a new campus headed to their respective El Paso ISD schools for orientations and camps to ready themselves for the big move to high school and face-to-face interactions.
Each high school offered a variety of activities to help integrate freshman and new students into the campus by giving tours, recruiting for clubs and other extracurricular activities, and teaching the fight song among other traditions.
“I liked how the tours were led by the students. I thought it was a lot of fun,” said Coronado freshman Attia Slater. “I thought it was cool that there were so many different clubs to sign up for.”
Attia and her twin Athena Slater left private schooling to become a part of Coronado’s inaugural class of Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) – a new offering in EPISD also available at Jefferson, El Paso and Franklin. P-TECH that allows students to earn an associate degree or professional certification upon graduation.
“It’s exciting,” said Attia, who attended St. Mark’s prior to Coronado. “From what I heard, if I do my classes successfully, I can get associates in business. I thought that would be useful. I’m looking forward to working hard this year to get good grades.”
The Slater sister’s new classmate William Casillas also enjoyed the tour and learning the ins and outs of Coronado’s maze of buildings. He looks forward to in-person learning and taking geometry and biology and possibly joining the golf team.
“I feel better about going back in person because something about virtual school just felt boring,” he said. “I’m excited to see some of my friends and start new classes. I’m also proud to go to Coronado.”
Across town at Austin High, students gathered in the gym and later a tour of the 90-year-old campus to learn about expectations and orienting them to the campus. Cheerleaders and athletes helped guide students, getting them to learn the school fight song and teaching them the Wiggalo to get them motivated for the up-coming year and building on the panther pride. The presentation included a briefing on expectations.
“We call it the Austin attitude,” said Natalie Mendoza, student activities manager. “It’s a matrix of how to and a welcome. They’re going to be a panther for the next four years and we want them to know that we’re there for them and we’ll be there to help them be successful.”
The orientation gave students a chance to meet new in-coming freshman and start the year with knowledge of the campus.
“I’m looking forward to making friends,” said Matthew Garcia. “I expect school to be challenging and harder than middle school.”
Sophomore Angel Flores inadvertently mixed in with the tour while visiting the campus but couldn’t hide his excitement for going back to school in person.
“I’m looking forward to playing sports. During COVID, it was a little different,” Flores said. “I’m also looking forward to seeing my New Tech teachers and making new friends. You didn’t get to see too many people on the new computer, so when I go back to school, I know I’ll meet new friends. I really hope this school year goes good.”