PRINCETON — Princeton High School’s incoming freshmen gathered on the school’s front lawn Tuesday morning to partake in the traditional activities of Ignite Day.
With the leadership of upperclassmen, the activities encouraged interaction, teamwork, trust and a positive attitude among the new freshmen students.
The PHS Ignition program meshes new students and upperclassmen in hopes to boost student achievement and involvement in school organizations.
Ignition sponsor Renee Kozeal explained the program “breaks the ice” to help start building relationships among the freshmen class.
“The point is we want the freshmen to get to know each other instead of sitting in their own groups that they know and are comfortable with,” she said. “The activities push them outside of their comfort zone … This is a way to get them to start breaking down those walls.”
Following the activities, Ignition mentor Anjali Patel said it was a successful day for both the freshmen and fellow Ignition mentors.
“Ignite Day served as a great day to see the underclassmen really come together as classmates and prepare themselves for the next four years of their lives,” she said.
The Class of 2018 presented a sense of excitement, Patel added.
“The class went through a small group, mentor-conducted, tour of the entire high school. When asked for some feedback, a student said he felt more comfortable walking through the tiger eye doors on his first day, now that he is confident about the locations of all his classes,” she said.
When she was a freshman, Patel said Ignite Day boosted her confidence and gave her a sense of excitement instead of fear and anxiety.
“The day served as a great opportunity to ask every single question that was on my mind, figure out the location of my classes, open my own locker knowing that if I couldn’t get it, someone would help me out, connecting with my classmates and just associating myself with the school,” she said. “Ignite Day definitely gave me a sense of excitement about the next four years of my life.”
Ignition sponsor Gary Passmore explained following Ignite Day, there always seems to be more cohesion among the freshmen.
“The fear factor is reduced quite a bit. It helps knowing there are upperclassmen who are approachable and there to help if needed,” he said.
The activities on Ignite Day are just one aspect of the year-long program. The students will continue to take part in “fuel sessions,” where the Ignition mentors will visit the freshmen homeroom classes each month to continue motivational discussions.
“We see a lot of growth in the freshmen throughout the year, and I think, the Ignition program has helped in that respect,” Passmore said. “It focuses them on the future and their place within the culture of Princeton High School.”
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