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home : news : north central illinois   May 3, 2016

8/14/2013 7:19:00 AM
Freshmen from three high schools get their feet wet (See slide show)


Adviser Rob Clydesdale and Link Crew members talk about their goals for freshman orientation at La Salle-Peru High School.
NewsTribune photo/Tom CollinsMichael Slingsby (gesticulating), an incoming senior at St. Bede Academy, leads a freshman orientation group with fellow senior and St. Bede “ambassador” Morgan King (not pictured) Tuesday morning at St. Bede. To Michael’s left and right are incoming freshmen Carson Bersen and Brett Knoblauch.
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NewsTribune photo/Tom Collins
Michael Slingsby (gesticulating), an incoming senior at St. Bede Academy, leads a freshman orientation group with fellow senior and St. Bede “ambassador” Morgan King (not pictured) Tuesday morning at St. Bede. To Michael’s left and right are incoming freshmen Carson Bersen and Brett Knoblauch.
NewsTribune photo/Scott AndersonLa Salle-Peru Township High School freshmen seek out the location of their first-hour class during an orientation day Tuesday at L-P. The freshmen were assisted and greeted by upperclassmen and also met possible mentors.
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NewsTribune photo/Scott Anderson
La Salle-Peru Township High School freshmen seek out the location of their first-hour class during an orientation day Tuesday at L-P. The freshmen were assisted and greeted by upperclassmen and also met possible mentors.
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Student leaders welcome freshmen to Cavalier community

Student leaders at La Salle-Peru Township High School welcomed the incoming class of 2017 Tuesday and tried to make them feel part of the Cavalier community.

Rob Clydesdale, teacher and adviser, said the student leaders who greeted the newcomers are part of a student mentoring organization called Link Crew. The purpose of the organization is to make them feel like they belong and to give freshmen a person to talk to through the upcoming school year. Two leaders were assigned a group of eight to 10 freshmen to mentor, and will have lockers next to their freshmen throughout the year.

At the orientation, Clydesdale led the freshmen and student leaders through activities that made the new students introduce themselves to their neighbors, shake hands and feel a little less nervous about the upcoming year.

Clydesdale emphasized to the freshmen there are three ways to use their time — to spend, invest or waste — and it is up to them to decide how to use it.

The freshman orientation also included a walk-through of the hallways, tours of their class schedules and lunch.

Rachel Gunia, a senior, said as a freshman it is scary to come to a new school, but the leaders are there to make them feel they are part of the L-P community.

Freshman Kendra Guske said the orientation made her feel better about the upcoming year.

The Link Crew members spent last week preparing for the orientation, and the leaders originally had to submit formal applications to be selected. Clydesdale said he had to turn away some applicants because so many students applied. 

The expected freshman enrollment for the 2013-14 school year is 325.


NT Staff




The Rev. Ronald Margherio, O.S.B. has seen it before: Stark terror.

Every year, St. Bede Academy welcomes incoming freshman who’ve spent their entire academic careers either at a small rural district where they know the entire student body or at a La Salle-Peru school where they learn and play with a core group of classmates.
Suddenly, these sheltered youths are going to be bused to St. Bede amid an unfamiliar student body and with daunting challenges including an unfamiliar campus, term papers and a slew of new faces.

“They’re terrified, some of them, you can just tell,” Margherio said sympathetically. “But by the end of the day, they’ll be more comfortable.”

Tuesday was Chaplain’s Day at St. Bede when a select group of upperclassmen serve as “ambassadors” for the wide-eyed newcomers and ease them into life at St. Bede before classes start Monday. The ambassadors all sport green-and-white tie-dyed shirts bearing the words, “We R St. Bede” and issue fraternal guidance and gentle assurances.

After opening comments by coach Tom McGunnigal, the freshmen break into groups of 12 each led by a male and female ambassador. Incoming seniors Michael Slingsby and Morgan King brought their charges into a circle, made introductions and peppered their younger peers with questions such as, “What made you choose St. Bede?”

After lunch, the newcomers get their books and break into a few additional “ice-breaking” sessions designed not only to keep things fun and loose but to help the incoming class learn the lay of the land. Among the activities is a scavenger hunt set up for students to navigate the unfamiliar stairwells and corridors.


Princeton freshmen work together at orientation, Ignition event

PRINCETON — Freshman orientation kicked off Tuesday morning atPrincetonHigh Schoolwith a challenging obstacle course that promotes teamwork and peer bonding sponsored by the Ignition program.

The Ignition program is a research-based, highly interactive, peer mentorship program that utilizes consulting, training, curriculum and support materials to successfully integrate incoming freshman into high school culture.

PrincetonHigh Schoolhas a total of 24 mentors. In other words, a 2-to-10 mentor-to-freshman ratio.

“What we normally do is get freshmen prepared with all their paperwork so everything is squared away from the administrative aspect,” said Gary Passmore, co-sponsor for Ignition programming. “Then the ropes course gets them together in their homerooms so they can start to get to know one another and create a little bit of cohesion within that setting. They’re with their mentors throughout the day. It’s a good experience for them because the mentors are upperclassmen who really know what PHS is all about.

“It’s a wonderful transition period for them,”

Currently in its fourth year, the Ignition program has evolved. Passmore explained the first year was a very tentative time because they weren’t sure how this new program would go over, but now they see it has been very beneficial.

“The freshmen are a little bit more involved in school activities, and they are definitely becoming a bigger part of our school,” Passmore said.

Classes are scheduled to begin Monday, Aug 19.

Katlyn Rumbold can be reached (815) 879-5200 or ntprinceton@newstrib.com. The Bureau County bureau office fax number is (815) 828-0627.












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