The next step

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Incoming freshmen welcomed to WHS

WATSONVILLE — When Celeste Seymoure walks onto campus for the first day of class Wednesday, the Watsonville High School freshman will be seeing a considerable change.

She will be going from a class of 30 in Linscott Charter School to one containing nearly 600. Moreover, she must now navigate numerous buildings on a sprawling campus.

“It’s overwhelming,” she said Thursday.

Celeste was completing “Step up to High School,” a three-day intensive program created to give students a primer on such topics as organization, time management, academic resources and coping skills.

After the program, she said she felt like she knew more about being at high school than her brother did in his senior year at WHS.

“It’s really preparing me to be here,” she said.

Link Crew member Janeth Salcedo, a senior, said the reason she wanted to help incoming freshman was that she was a “very shy student at that age.”

“I just feel it is a good way to help the younger students feel welcome here at the school — that is important to me,” she said. “I want to play an important role in making these students feel welcome.”

Bryan Ortiz, a transfer student from Pajaro Middle School, said he was happy to have a group of friends from his former school around him.

“Yes, I’m a little nervous,” he said. “But it will work out. They make you feel welcome here and that is important.”

The program was the first of its kind at WHS, but school organizers modeled it after similar ones nationwide. Students get a chance to meet teachers and tour the campus, among other things.

“It’s a way to help the students be a little more at ease,” WHS office assistant Yanet Lopez said.

Assistant Principal Ivan Alcaraz said the program was a supplement to the Link Crew, a Friday event in which freshmen are paired with seniors who serve as “mentors” throughout the year.

That event is meant as a fun way to welcome the entire class to school, Alcaraz said.

Step up to High School, on the other hand, was aimed at academically struggling students and high-achievers.

“We wanted to build a program to prepare our incoming freshmen,” Alcaraz said. “We felt that it was important to have a different kind of welcome.”

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