BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — When I went to the Bristol Central High School freshman orientation last week, I didn’t learn anything useful except which of my friends are on my team and that the soda at Central tastes kind of funky.
After we got a copy of our schedules, a map of the school and a t-shirt, we filed into the auditorium and waited eagerly for the fun to begin.
First up was the principal, Dennis Siegmann, who gave a short but unsurprisingly boring speech filled with “advice” for the upcoming year. It was one of those welcoming talks that I think everyone just copies out of the same book and fills in the blanks fitting the occasion.
An assistant principal, Martin Semmel, followed up in the same general gist.
Once the lectures momentarily ceased, we saw a slide show of past Central students as “Shiny, Happy People” blared over the speakers.
Since I had already seen a slide show suspiciously similar to this one at an event in Central the year before, this was especially helpful.
The lights stayed dim and another slide show followed, this time a PowerPoint presentation that I barely even remembered two days later.
I was trying hard to pay attention, but I just couldn’t do it.
When the lights came back on, another guy whose name I didn’t catch took the microphone and started yelling and screaming about the school and its staff — and how he’s apparently the “quiet one.”
He got me to wake up and listen, but unfortunately it was at the end of the assembly.
Somewhere in that first hour, my friend managed to lose her schedule while doing nothing but sitting in the auditorium. We’re still trying to figure that one out.
We headed off next to do a 15-minute scavenger hunt aimed at finding room numbers, names and trophy information around the school.
At the end of the search, we were supposed to gather in particular spots – mine was on the left side of the gymnasium – and perhaps win a $25 gift certificate to Staples if our answers were all correct.
On my team, only one person had all the answers right.
We strolled down to the cafeteria and got some lunch, but the room was so full that we had to go outside to eat.
We waited for our ride to come get us out of the hot sun.
Jen Plonski is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.