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Freshmen First Day kicks off 2016-17 school year

The first day of school may not officially be until Monday, Aug. 22, but at the four comprehensive high schools across the Denton Independent School District, the halls were alive with enthusiasm and chatter from incoming freshmen.

Approximately 2,265 freshmen at Denton, Guyer, Ryan and the new Braswell high schools all got their first taste of high school life as part of the district’s annual Freshmen First Day program. The students got to interact with classmates from their feeder middle schools, meet upperclassmen who tried to show them the ropes and check out what their schedules will actually be like prior to the actual first day.
“I’m excited and a little bit nervous,” said Ryan High freshman Jordan Ishee as he walked into the cafeteria. “I went to Strickland Middle School, but I’m looking forward to making new friends.”
The routines at each of the high schools varied, but the common theme remained: talk to other freshmen, visit classrooms, get to know your teachers and understand what is expected of you as a high school student.
“We want them to come and feel the energy and excitement that surrounds this campus,” said Guyer High School Principal Shaun Perry. “There are lots of opportunities here and that was my message to them – we’re not waiting for you to be juniors or seniors to be leaders of this school, we want that to start today.”
That message resonated in a big way at Guyer High when Mr. Perry announced that the 685 members of the Class of 2020 comprised the largest the school has ever enrolled. The students roared in approval and then filtered back into the hall in small groups on their way to their first period class before completing a full day that saw them go through their entire class schedule.
“It was nice getting to see a lot of my friends again and I think I’m now pretty much prepared for the rest of the year. This really helped a lot and I don’t think I’ll be overwhelmed on the first day,” said Aaron Franklin, a Guyer High freshmen.
Across Lake Lewisville in Little Elm, overwhelmed was the operative term for every freshmen that walked into Braswell High for the first time. The magnitude of the brand-new building and the moment itself, got the attention of all the former Navo Middle School students who were happy to have “lots of elbow room” and “breathing room” in their new digs.
Principal Lesli Guajardo welcomed the new students and challenged them to meet the standards set forth by the incredible new building. She reminded them that they will be the first four-year graduating class of the school and that they will set the tone for all other graduating classes of Braswell High.
“If I stop and think about the number of ‘firsts’ we are going to have in this building – first pep rally, first test, first lunch, first win, etc. – I am in awe that I get to be a part of it,” said freshman Hannah Wilson. “We are going to learn so much and come together as a school as we experience these ‘firsts.’ I just can’t wait!”
Setting expectations is nothing new at Denton High. The district’s original high school is steeped in history and tradition, with many of its students knowing what is expected with family and friends having attended and graduated from the school.
No one understands that experience more than Joel Hays, Denton High’s new associate principal and a member of the DHS Class of 1984. His son experienced Freshmen First Day with his friends and classmates, with dad helping some and soaking in the moment with others.
“I can remember my first day getting dropped off and walking into this massive building, a little nervous,” Mr. Hays said. “I wish I would’ve had the Freshmen First Day experience because these students today will have met their teachers, know faces, and have walked the halls before Monday.”