West Valley welcomes freshmen

The scoop on West Valley High’s Class of 2022 orientation

Photo by Corey Evan / The Valley Chronicle
Incoming freshmen took part in games and get-to-know-you activities on a Monday morning. This was part of West Valley’s efforts to take the edge off their upcoming first day of school.

■ By Corey Evan / Reporter

High School can be scary when you first arrive; whether it’s busy work, bullies, braces or other business, it can seem overwhelming. The best high schools do their part to help take the edge off of all that.
West Valley High School in Hemet invited The Valley Chronicle to its Class of 2022 Freshmen orientation on Monday, Aug 6. There, Link Crew Advisor Brent Mikolaycik described what freshmen orientation is all about: “We kind of teach them about West Valley culture; We do chants, cheers, the band comes in, we play games, the administration just talks to them, then we break them into small groups and we do get to know your activities, so they start to feel like West Valley’s a place…where they can feel safe, they can learn and have fun and know people.”

Photo by Corey Evan / The Valley Chronicle
Link Crew gives students a tour of the West Valley Campus.

Over 500 freshmen started at West Valley on Monday, Aug 13. Those who showed up to orientation were greeted with applause and cheers from members of Link Crew.
Link Crew is a student organization made up of upperclassmen, who help link freshmen and new students who arrive during the school year with all the good things that are going on at school. In short, they have been there and done that.
Once in the gym, freshmen were able to complete registration, get signed up for their classes and fix any misspellings of their names.
Orientation included various exercises in helping break the ice, including getting to know each other, finding out what each other did for their summer vacation, learning what is expected of a Mustang, pep talk intended to get students involved in their school, and learning the school handjive and the WVHS Alma Mater.
This also proved to be a good opportunity for freshmen to see the basic layout of the campus, so finding their first period class on first day of school was easier.
Administration also chipped in to the orientation effort; Assistant Principal Steven Mack reassured the incoming freshmen that they’re in charge of their behavior and he and his team are there to help them out: “If I could go through a whole entire year, and the other APs all feel the same way, we would be happy if we did not have to suspend anyone. I’m not here to suspend you! Although we do suspend… we don’t like to, but we do… That’s not up to me, that’s up to you!”
To further encourage students not to waste their freshman years, Mikolaycik compared showing up and doing nothing to wasting money. He even tore up a dollar bill in front of the incoming freshmen to hammer his point home. However, somebody should have passed him the clear tape.
After all was said and done, a barbecue lunch was provided by West Valley Bible Church. They also provided a special door prize to the first 200 freshmen to arrive this morning, which was a brand new book bag, complete with the West Valley logo.
As for all back to school students: hang in there! Don’t get overwhelmed by all the new pressures. Don’t let any obstacles get you down. Talk with your teachers, counselors, coaches, or any other trusted adult. For parents, stay involved with your kids and don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions, but rather listen to your student.
Author’s note: The invitation to check out the freshman orientation was extended to The Valley Chronicle by Dr. Janice Jones of WVHS.

Photo by Corey Evan / The Valley Chronicle
The West Valley Class of 2022 assembles on the gym floor.

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