Friday afternoon on May 10 marked a first for roughly 800 Ilion and Mohawk students. They got their first looks at the schools they will attend next September.Ilion’s 4-7 graders toured Mohawk’s Gregory B. Jarvis Junior-Senior High School while Mohawk’s 8-11 graders toured Ilion’s Junior-Senior High School. As outlined in the merger plan, Jarvis will become a grade 5-8 middle school. Ilion Junior-Senior High will become the district grade 9-12 high school.
The visit began in the school auditorium where High School Principal Cindy Stocker welcomed the students. She introduced the name Gregory B. Jarvis—the Mohawk graduate and astronaut who died in the Challenger space shuttle explosion.
“We asked the students to imagine what his first day in this building must have been like,” said Mrs. Stocker.
“We thought about all of the things he wanted to accomplish, things that would one day lead him to become an astronaut.”
Students broke into groups and toured the building, met with Media Specialist Mr. Giammaria and listened to Guidance Director Mrs. Buttacaroli. A highlight of the visit was filling out a brief questionnaire asking students what worried them and what excited them about next year. The questionnaires will be put away in a time capsule to be returned to students when they finish eighth grade.
“We expect that they will all look back and laugh at what worried them. But, right now those things are very important. Hopefully, this exercise will help them work through their concerns,” said Ilion Guidance Counselor Leon Frost.
Back in Ilion, future high schoolers were overwhelmed by the size of the building and its layout. Some worried that they would get lost the first few days of school.On the other hand, they are looking forward to the school’s air conditioning.
When they weren’t checking out the building’s physical characteristics, they broke into smaller groups and met for question and answer sessions with school faculty. Mr. Inzer introduced them to the Library/Media Center. The music department talked of next year’s vocal, instrument and performance opportunities. The physical education teachers described the P.E. curriculum—the mention of a dance unit brought laughter from most young ladies and groans from many young men.
“We purposely focused on areas that we think will be different from what Mohawk students have experienced in the past,” said High School Principal Renee Rudd.
“The new district’s size will allow us to offer so much more to the students. I hope that today, they got a sense of all the exciting things that will be possible next year.”