Freshman Initiation


via Sam Laber

Mark Van Kirk, Writer

When any Cistercian student recalls the beginning of high school, the first thing that comes to mind is the Freshman Baptism. As each freshman is hurled into the water, his physical transition from a dry environment to a wet environment is accompanied by a mental one—a realization that he is taking on a new role. As a high schooler, he will discover more opportunities and take on new responsibilities than ever before.

But the Class of 2024 ditched the typical Freshman Baptism in favor of something more unique—a Freshman Launch. This new name was met with much criticism last year, but these freshmen proudly accepted it as they were launched down the meager slope above the upper field. Preceding the launch, Michael Wilson took advantage of his booming voice to bequeath words of wisdom to the high school neophytes. With staff and paper in hand, he consecrated the ground upon which these freshmen would glide, and, miraculously, a line of freshmen began to emerge. Soon, it was time for the first ever Freshman Launch to begin.

One at a time, the freshmen stepped onto the makeshift Slip ‘N Slide and assumed a position on their bellies. Then two seniors grabbed each freshman by the arms and propelled him down the slope. Some freshmen had to grab onto the plastic to prevent sliding off the tilted runaway, and others flew down the slope perfectly like penguins. But in the end, all the freshmen made it to their destination at the bottom, where their classmates stood cheering.

The last person to slide down was their Form Master, Mr. Nied, who decided to slide down in a sitting position. The seniors happily accommodated him, making sure to spray him with plenty of water before giving him a good push. It marked the end of the Launch, but the beginning of an adventure. These young men may have missed the Freshman Mixer, but they will certainly not miss Homecoming and Prom in the coming years. In fact, without school sports underway, the freshmen have time to consider what they will do during their high school years.

I would recommend for each freshman to think outside the box. If you and your friends have any interests that are not encompassed by the various clubs, try starting a new club. The Digital Music Production has just been created, and it has already caught the attention of many upperclassmen. Just remember, in the words of Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Starting a club is only one of the many things that high schoolers can do. Many of the fantastic clubs that were presented to the freshmen a couple of weeks ago were started by current high schoolers. Many volunteer organizations have finally reopened, including Feed My Starving Children, and they would greatly appreciate more volunteers. Or, if you would like a taste of endurance, you can watch David Blaine’s TED Talk—“How I Held My Breath For 17 Minutes.” This task is not something many of us would think to try, and I highly recommend that no
one does. I would also recommend that you make sure that the stress of getting into a great college does not overshadow your freshman year. High school is an adventure, make sure you’re able to enjoy it.

So you, Class of 2024, have ventured into high school differently than all preceding classes, but your Launch speaks volumes about your capabilities. If you have carved your own path as freshmen, who knows what else you will accomplish as seniors? The most important thing is to keep your head up as you continue to glide down High School Hill.