Community on Display: Eighth-Grade Orientation

CHS welcomes eighth grade students and their families into its halls.


On Monday, Jan. 30, eighth-grade students and their families sat down in the Craft Theater, ready to see a glimpse of life at CHS. This was one of four different eighth-grade orientations this year. The school’s goal was to get as many current eighth graders to apply as possible.

“It’s a chance for us to define who we are as a school and to widen CHS,” said Ryan Silvester, CHS history teacher who helped coordinate the orientation. “It’s one of the most important things that we do because CHS is all built around a lottery.”

The guests were first met by teachers who talked about the different programs offered such as the Community Resource (CR) program and electives. This was followed by two student presenters who talked about their own experiences at CHS, including social life and academics.

Lucy Cassell-Kelley was one of these presenters. She focused on sharing what the people at CHS mean to her and experiences that have been impactful to her.

“[The students and parents] were really receptive,” Cassell-Kelley said. “They wanted to hear what we had to say. They wanted to know more, so they asked a lot of questions. It was just a nice experience to give back to the school that I feel has given me so much.”

Next, a panel of student volunteers had two minutes to touch on a subject of their choice, such as the jazz band, “The Communicator,” CRs and a variety of clubs.

“There’s so much value in what [the incoming students and their families] can hear from current students, and that’s why I wanted to really include [students sharing] and have everyone hear from the students,” Silvester said. “There’s so many different ways for people to find their unique niche at CHS and having students come up and share all of these different wonderful programs and classes and extracurriculars that we offer [is] the biggest thing.”

After the presentations in the Craft Theater ended, the students and parents split into two new presentation groups: one going with the deans and counselors and the other with some teachers. The groups then switched presentations.

The orientation finished off with a “mingling session” where eighth grade students and their parents could ask the student volunteers more questions and walk around to tables set up for different subjects.

Overall, the orientations presented the rigor, responsibility, independence, leadership and fun at CHS, and they showed how students develop into responsible, independent and cooperative learners.

“The students totally sold the show,” Silvester said. “People are here to see [the students] and to hear from [their] experiences, and it’s been really great to see.”