It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what was going on at Waxahachie Global High on Wednesday because as soon as the doors opened, anxiously waiting students, parents and instructors headed toward the auditorium for the first Quest Fest orientation — formerly known as Fish Camp.
Before entering the auditorium to attend the general assembly, students picked up nametags and a folder from parent volunteers, which contained a three-day agenda, a class schedule and teacher photo and biographies.
Welcoming everyone with hugs and smiles was Headmaster Portia Butler as she looked out into the audience of about 93 students and some parents.
During her welcome, Butler introduced the staff, explained the three-day agenda and explained the course schedules in detail.
“I would like to welcome each and every one of you to our first Quest Fest,” Butler said. “We changed the named from Fish Camp to Quest Fest for a few reasons, with one being that we are on a journey of finding out new things about our school. Here at Global High, you will have the opportunity of doing what other high school students can’t do and that’s picking your school’s colors, your school’s motto, your school’s song and your school’s mascot. This is not my school or any instructor’s school … this is our school.”
Butler was pleased with what she was seeing the first day of the camp.
“I’m really excited about everything,” Butler said. “I love the way the students interact with the teachers and how they don’t mind asking questions. They seem eager to learn new things.”
Students shared their thoughts on topics ranging from first-year expectations to the challenges that await them.
“I am expecting for the educational aspects to be good and I look forward to experiencing a lot of new things,” Perla Sifuentes said. “I’m really looking forward to the new engineering class because this is a complicated course that most schools don’t offer and plus I’ve never taken one before. I’m also looking forward to kickboxing and martial arts because normal schools don’t have them. Other schools have football and other sports, but at least we’re doing something different and that’s good.”
“I’m also looking forward to the engineering course because I’ve never taken one before either,” Taylor Edwards said. “I’m looking forward to kickboxing too. I’m expecting the teachers here to be more involved in our education and from the looks of it, they seem very concerned about the individual. And since we have advisors, it will be more of a one-on-one training session rather than one teacher with many students.”
Marcus Lee said his challenges are more than those faced by most students from an educational standpoint.
“Attending Global High is going to be a new thing for me because I’ve taken special education classes in the past,” Lee said. “Here, I expect hands-on experiences and I look forward to starting. I expect that the teachers here will be more detailed and helpful.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenges because I know there will be some, but hey, I like changes,” he said. “I’m also looking forward to the engineering course and making A’s and B’s. I believe that I will.”
Nathan Miles is anticipating what he’ll find in the different technology courses.
“I’m looking forward to a better and more disciplined learning environment,” Miles said. “I’m also looking forward to learning in the technology courses because I feel that the future will be based on technology. I chose Global High because it seems to be a good school that focuses more on education rather than extra-curricular activities.”
Butler said she and the staff want the best effort from the students.
“We’re expecting greatness from our students and we also expect them to become successful upon leaving Global High and attending a college or university,” she said. “We’re going to work really hard with them and support them in everything they so ever desire.
“We’re expecting them to have the necessary skills needed for the college level and to also accrue college credits while enrolled here,” she said.
As students familiarized themselves with the campus and its staff, parents shared their thoughts about the new school.
“This will be a neat experience for me and my son, Christopher, because he’s used to a smaller school whereas here, he’ll have to interact with 100 other students,” parent Kathi Valle of Avalon said. “I think this school is going to provide a little bit more discipline than other schools with the one-on-one training with the instructors. I just wanted to clap when Ms. Butler said, ‘We expect students to do their homework.’
“I love the teachers’ enthusiasm and it seems that they are more excited than the students are,” she said. “They relate to the students on a student-level and I like that. There are about four other students from Avalon enrolled here, but I know that my son is very excited about being accepted and he’s looking forward to being here.”
“I know that this will be a different learning atmosphere for the students, mainly because they’re going to have control over their education,” parent Chris Aulbaugh said. “They will have more input in their education and be able to interact with a wide range of like-minded students. They’ll be able to interact with inter-related studies that can prepare them for the real world.
“My daughter, Cathryn, is really excited about being a part of the first class to attend Global High and setting the bar,” he said. “And I’m excited because she’s excited. She puts pressure on her education and she feels that this school will launch her to where she wants to be and she believes it.”
Quest Fest continues through Friday, Aug. 10, wrapping up with a parent assembly from 6-7 p.m.
During the assembly, forming an advisory board, establishing a parent/teacher organization, school policy issues, family responsibilities for technology (laptops and iPods), insurance issues and other topics will be discussed.
Classes begin at Global High on Monday, Aug. 27.
E-mail Chicarra at firstname.lastname@example.org