The flurry of new staff, hampered slightly from a lack of working tech, and their formal introduction to the school highlighted the 2016-17 Welcome Back Assembly held in the auditorium on Friday, August 26th. As the band played “Bohemian Rhapsody,” with cheerleaders alongside, about 400 students met up in place of 8th period for this annual August event.
While both wireless mics failed, the new student council members led by School Board Representative Anna Wagner, projected loudly and the entire student body quietly listened to each of the five introductions of the new long-term and short-term teachers. Two new permanent teachers added their names to the roster: Ms. Morgan Waddell, born and raised in Pittsburgh, replaced Mrs. Tullar, who is now teaching at the middle school. In addition, Mrs. Jia Li is officially the Avonworth Chinese teacher, meaning the Chinese students no longer have a 2D teacher on the smartboard broadcasting from Beattie. Also introduced were Caitlin McManus, filling in for all English 10 classes as Ms. Fox resigned this summer, Kerri Patterson, filling in for Mr. Jackson’s math classes as he is on sabbatical this year, and Patricia Herbert, covering Mrs. Maisner’s Geography classes while she is on maternity leave. New paraprofessionals are Lisa Simmons and Jordon Grassel.
Mrs. Claire led the assembly, her second as building principal but first in person since she was on maternity leave last August, with alternating statements of support and motivation. “We made it through the first four days”, stated Clare, getting loud cheers and much applause. After several Welcome Back Assembly-standard topics, Mrs. Dwulit gave some advice as well, including for the 9th grade specifically to, “Get rid of the old habits, the drama – all of it. Create a new experience.” To finish it off, she ended with an enthusiastic, “Let’s make it the best year yet!”
Another stand out for the assembly was the marching band’s new set featuring the music of Queen, alongside energetic cheers from the Avonworth cheerleaders. Towards the end of the assembly, the band’s performance of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” inspired many of the students to clap along.
While the new staff additions were an exciting change from previous years, students went into the assembly cynically, expecting the usual: “I think it will be the same as previous years”, said Jake Jaillet, an Avonworth Junior, “I am just happy to get out of class.”
Senior Logan Yovetich, prior to the assembly, addressed past assemblies as “tbh, very lame” while Junior Brant McAdams exclaimed, “It’s a good time for everyone to bond as a school.”
Most student reaction remained critical and often dismissive. Sophomore Chloe Cropper said, “It triggers me,” and Sophomore Jessica Lamperski said, “It’s really stupid.”
Junior Michael Foster, when asked how the school could make the assembly better, said, “Probably by not having it.”
The assembly closed out with the usual speech for the Blood Drive, to take place on September 28th, 2016. Overall, the assembly was informative, but unappreciated by the majority of the student body.
Reporting and writing by students of Journalism 1: Caitlin Bellotti, Christa Chao, Miranda Chrvala, Brandan Hart, Jackson Horigan, Ryan Kreutzer, Matt Manz, Dominique Raught, Jagmeet Singh, Tucker Yovetich, and Olivia Lejonthun
Photography from Lauren Pflueger, Journalism 1 student