By Abigail Solano
On Jan. 10, 2018, incoming freshmen who will be a part of the class of 2022 were able to take the first step getting to know the high school atmosphere. Shelby Gajos, a physical education teacher, activity director, and Link Crew coordinator for Batavia High School, was a part of the production of this Freshman Night. She talked to The Spectator about the night’s purpose, the new setup, and its success.
Q: What is your position at the high school?
Gajos: “I’m the activity director; it’s my second role. It’s my second year in the role and we have 45 clubs and activities at the school so I oversee all of them. I help the sponsors and help the students make the clubs the best that they can be for Batavia High School.”
Q: How were you involved in the incoming freshman night process?
Gajos: “I planned the activity and athletic fair because it’s catered to so many of our clubs and also our athletic teams which we have 20 of. I put that part together.”
Q: What type of things did the parents and students take part in?
Gajos: “Parents came at the beginning with their student and they got to split into two different areas. The parents got to go with the administration and learn about what freshman year was going to be like, what courses they could take, and they could answer questions. Then, the students got to go with the Link Crew coordinators and Link Crew commissioners, which is our highest rank of link crew leaders, and they got to learn from link crew students about what freshman year was like. It was kind of cool because there were two separate stations they could go to, as you could say. They could go to the activity fair for an hour and then if your name was at the end of the alphabet you would come at the end and then you would go to one of the other stations or go to the administrative station with the parents and then go to the Link Crew station with the students. Just depending on what your name was on the alphabet. It would be something like A-M go to the presentations, go to the fair and then N-Z go to the fair, go the presentations. It was a really nice night.”
Q: What is the purpose of this freshman night?
Gajos: “It’s really just about introducing them to the opportunities at the school. Some of them have never been here. Some of them don’t have older siblings and so they’re able to come, ask questions, and basically learn about what freshman year is going to be like.”
Q: After going to the freshman night, what comes next in the process of transition for eighth-grade students?
Gajos: “The administration and the counselors are doing the next steps but right now the parent portal is up so they can also register for classes. They are looking ahead to what they can take next year, they can call in with questions, and they can contact Mr. Rollerson, who is going to be their counselor. They have a feedback form they can fill out that the administration can then divide it up and figure out who can answer which question. Then, they can call them back or email them back. So it’s the next thing with course selection and then they have some small presentations that they do. I think they do an AP/honors night and just different things that the parents might be interested in that they didn’t get that night which was just an introduction.”
Q: How would you describe the incoming freshman based off of your interpretations from the night?
Gajos: “They’re really excited. It was a really big group that was here. It was awesome turnout and very well attended. I just really like their energy. I was in the Link Crew presentation and I really thought they were excited to be here. They were walking around the fair, checking out the clubs, and checking out the sports. I think that they’re excited about high school already.”
Q: Do you think that it is beneficial more to the parents or to the students?
Gajos: “I think both. This was our first year of setting it up this way where it was the parent station and the student station and then the fair. It went so well. In the past, we’ve done a bigger presentation. I was only part of it last year and this year but they had a bigger presentation in the gym and everyone was just sitting and certain people talked. This year it was more personal and you could really ask the questions you wanted to ask and you could be with the group you wanted to be with.”
Q: Would you say that the night was successful? Why or why not?
Gajos: “Yes, for sure. It was very well attended, lots of energy, lots of excitement about what next year is going to be because people were maybe unsure but they could see an interest they didn’t see. I think it was awesome and we will do a very similar thing next year. I think people are excited about high school.”