With registration and move-in accomplished, Blair students and faculty came together on the afternoon of Sunday, September 8, for Orientation. This event, filled with activities for new and returning students in every grade, is an annual tradition at Blair that builds connections among all members of the community just before the start of the academic year.
Associate Deans of Students Caroline Wilson and Andee Ryerson planned Orientation, keeping in mind different goals for each grade level. “For freshmen, it’s all about getting to know students in their grade, meeting as many faculty members as possible and learning how to get around campus,” said Ms. Wilson. “We want to give them a strong start to their Blair careers.” Ninth-graders participated in activities like scavenger hunts and getting-to-know-you games, as well as a special “big brothers, big sisters” dessert get-together with the senior class, where they were paired with a 12th-grade mentor who will help them navigate their first year at Blair.
Sophomores traveled off campus to Princeton Blairstown Center or Camp Johnsonburg, where they had the chance to bond with new and old classmates through team-building activities and high- and low-ropes courses. “We welcomed 29 new sophomores this fall, and it was important for the entire grade level to spend time with one another and really come together as a class,” Ms. Wilson said.
The goal for juniors during Orientation was to raise awareness among 11th-graders of how their Blair world intersects with the larger world beyond campus. Students took part in workshops on identity, community service, and the environment and sustainability, all of which were geared toward giving them a sense of purpose and helping them see that when they work together, they can make a big difference.
“Seniors were very busy helping new students during move-in and working with freshmen during Orientation,” Ms. Wilson said, acknowledging that the older students play an important role in helping new students feel at home at Blair. The 12th-graders also met with their college counselors and enjoyed special time as a class when they tackled ropes courses and ziplining at Treeventures in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.
Of course, Orientation also included all-school events, such as a picnic dinner and evening get-together on the lawn outside Kathryn and Lakeside halls. The event concluded as athletic practices got underway on Monday afternoon, with many new connections made and friendships renewed just in time for the official opening of Blair’s 172nd year at Convocation.