The Welcome Back Assembly on Friday, August 25th, 2017 remained relatively unaltered from years past, despite noticeable changes at the high school such as the 8 AM start time, Chromebooks for every student, and two lunch periods instead of three. The band enthusiastically played its latest marching program, featuring Michael Jackson songs like “Beat It”, as over 350 students and over 30 staff members trickled into the auditorium at the end of 7th period, now at 2:08 PM instead of 1:33 PM on the old schedule. One noticeable addition was in the musical line-up, as the football team joined the band to introduce a new fight song and give school spirit a boost.
Mrs. Dwulit, speaking at the event for the first time as High School Principal, gave some opening remarks to the quietly attentive student body. Her enthusiastic speech consisted of reiterating the importance of kindness in our student body and the importance of each grade to the high school. She emphasized the senior class, saying “you guys set the tone for the rest of the school”. In this first year of the “Freshman Academy”, with Mr. Hall still the freshmen’s principal, she told the 9th grade that they are still “a very important part of the high school.” Mrs. Dwulit even said that this school year could be “the best one ever!” Her speech was welcomed with applause.
Ms. Dwulit then passed the microphone to the new College and Career Counselor, Mrs. Levis, while guidance counselor Mr. Como stood at her side brimming with positive energy. Mrs. Levis briefly described her new role as the College and Career Counselor before allowing Student Council chair Maura Corder to introduce this year’s new teaching staff. The first teacher to be introduced was Mrs. Arnold, the new GATE teacher, who went on to give some details about her personal life. Next to be brought to the stage was Mr. Wells, 9th grade English, who was booed by the football players and fans in the crowd when it was revealed that he attended North Catholic, an Avonworth rival. Finally, Mr. Warren, who received the warmest welcome, was called up by Maura. Mr. Warren, our new Chorus teacher, is the replacement for Mr. Vrana, who retired at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.
After meeting this year’s new teachers, Natalia Petrullia spoke to the school about the blood drive that will take place on September 27th. This led to a video about the blood drive, one that is familiar to the upperclassmen who saw the same video in prior years. The video showed an array of people talking about their experience receiving blood or the experience of their loved ones receiving blood, highlighting the emotions of strength, courage, and hope the process evoked, ultimately encouraging everyone to donate blood.
Towards the end of the assembly the Avonworth High School football team lined up along the front of the auditorium to sing “The Eyes of Avonworth” modeled after the Texas Longhorns traditional “Eyes of Texas” fight song.
Sophomore Park Penrod was the initial pushing force behind the creation of the song. He and his father, a long time alumni of Avonworth, came up with the idea together. The goal of the song was to boost school spirit and invigorate the cheering crowds at football games. The entire team rose to the stage and sang along with the band. Although the performance was out-of-sync between the players and the band, the enthusiasm was clear for this start to a new tradition.
Mrs Hickman introduced herself as new student council co-sponsor alongside second year sponsor Mrs. Studt-Szalkuski, offering an open invitation to any student who would be interested in joining, regardless of experience.
Another new and exciting thing this year was the addition of a dance team. They joined the Color Guard and Avonettes alongside the marching band for even more of an exciting performance.
Overall the assembly was information but not too different from those in years past. The majority of students were respectful, but just wanted to get home.
Reporting and Photography provided by Journalism 1 students: Carolyn Abramowich, Maya Berardi, Chloe Boothby, Keyaira Cameron, Abby Dawley,
Katelyn Eng, Sam Guzzo, James Knable, Alec Kreutzer, Chelsea Lee, Marissa Manz, Riley North and Meghan Osekowski.