The Anoka High School Class of 2021 had some of their fears about high school dissipate during orientation Aug. 21.
“Congratulations on getting up this early,” Principal Mike Farley said when approximately three-fourths of the freshman class filled the bleachers by 7:40 a.m. two weeks ahead of the first day of school.
Farley laid down some rules – no speaking during assemblies when others have the microphone, no hats, etc. – and welcomed the class to the “Anoka Family.”
“We’re one family; we’re in this together,” he said. “We’re really excited to have you here.”
Performances by the drum line, step team and cheer squad brought the energy level in the field house up a notch.
Freshmen learned the school’s battle cry and fight song before meeting with upperclassmen mentors.
Fifty-five juniors and seniors are part of the AHS Rally Crew, working with freshmen throughout the first trimester.
“When I came here as a freshman, I didn’t know anybody,” said junior Jacob Toay, who moved to Minnesota from North Dakota before starting high school.
Orientation day was a chance for him to meet new friends ahead of the busyness of the first day of classes.
With upperclassmen’s guidance, “they won’t get lost or scared on the first day,” senior William Weber said.
Farley offered to take on students’ nervousness for them. In his 10 years as principal, he has not slept the night before school starts.
“My mind does not shut down,” he said. “You let me be the one that’s nervous the night before.”
New activity director Lance Wicks implored students to get involved.
“Find your niche,” he said.
The first day of school in the Anoka-Hennepin School District is Sept. 5.