In the Cobb theater at North Attleborough High School, a crowd of excited teenagers sat and mingled as they mentally prepared for the next chapter of their lives.
These teens are the incoming Class of 2026, who gathered at the school the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 23, and took part in the annual New Student Step Up Day event. This allows freshmen to meet their teachers, learn about extracurricular activities, receive schedules, and meet new friends.
Students received an opening presentation by Assistant Principal Thomas “TJ” Rizzo, who shared his high school experience and told the crowd what they can expect on their first day.
“I feel very strongly about this school,” Rizzo said. “I want you to have the best opportunity that you can have here just as I did when I was a student.”
After the orientation program, students were organized into homeroom groups and met their teachers. Students were asked about interests, as well as questions or concerns about high school.
Kevin Harker, a transition coordinator, told the freshman that it was OK to ask for help during the school year and that he can be a resource for them if they needed it.
“If you are feeling anxious, that’s normal,” he said. “Everyone feels anxious during their first time in high school. It’s completely normal.”
Most of the students, who were still sleepy, did not have much to say. Freshman Luke Malatesta, however, said he was not nervous about the beginning of the school year.
“I think the subject I’m looking forward to the most this year is history, said Malatesta. “It’s my favorite subject.”
The soon-to-be high schoolers were not the only students meeting their teachers that day. The North Attleborough Middle School also held a New Student Step Up Day event, where incoming sixth graders participated in a welcome ceremony led by principal Brianne Kelleher. The students were separated into three groups and received their schedules as well.
Rizzo said the school has been holding this event for six years. He said this year’s attendance was strong and hoped students will have a smooth transition into high school.
“Attendance has been low in the past,” he said.” “We would love it if attendance is 100% but the fact that it’s 70% this year for this event is pretty good. “I’m confident that our staff and our students that are here will make this a welcoming environment for new students.”