Bonneville Jr. High welcomes new students onSep 08, 2023 11:25AM ● By Heather Lawrence
Eighth-grade student officers Charlie Woodward (left) and his friend Gray lead a group of sixth graders through the halls of Bonneville Jr. High on the first day of school Aug. 16. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)
Bonneville Jr. High in Holladay started back to school on Aug. 16. They began the day with just the sixth graders at 7:45 a.m., then the rest of the students joined them at 9:45. The administration wanted to create an immediate sense of identity and school pride with carefully planned first day activities.
“We have 221 new sixth graders starting at Bonneville this year. We want to get them used to the junior high school experience, and help them all feel like they belong,” said principal Jen Johnson.
Faculty members manned check-in tables outside the main entrance to the school. Many students came with their parents for the first day, and parents could take pictures of their kids in front of a photo background with the Bonneville Jr. High Vikings logo.
Johnson and the rest of the faculty were easy to spot in their matching school T-shirts. The sixth graders also got free school shirts, something the school does every year for new students “so they can feel that Viking pride,” Johnson said.
But they were trying some new things, as well.
“This morning we decided to have just the sixth graders come at the regular start time of 7:45. We’re giving them two hours to explore the school in groups of 25. They rotate through different stations, and we show them where the cafeteria and gym are. They can also practice their lockers.
“We tell them about different activities and sports teams they can be on. And with a teacher’s supervision, each group is being led by two of our older student officers,” Johnson said.
Student body officer and eighth-grader Charlie Woodward was in charge of “Team Charlie,” along with his friend Gray from Peer Leadership.
“I like being a student officer a lot. Last year, I did student government, and over the summer we had a meeting so we’d be ready to help out today,” Charlie said.
Charlie was happy to be leading his group with Gray, who he said is a “cool guy,” and was excited to make the younger students feel like they had a friend at school.
“Most of the kids coming in I know or have at least seen around. So far today we’ve shown them the counseling center and the library, and we’ve got some other places to go,” Charlie said.
The peer leaders are all part of Johnson’s plan to help the sixth graders feel like a part of the school. For his part, Charlie is planning to make sure the new students feel welcome not just on the first day, but for the rest of the year.
“When I see them in the halls, dude, I’m just going to high-five them and say hi and make them feel like they have a friend here.”λ