• Oct. 5, 2023

    Freshmen Field Day creates connections

    Freshmen Field DayUpper St. Clair High School hosted its 15th annual Freshmen Field Day on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, in the high school stadium. The morning-long event was led by a five-member student leadership team that includes Matthew Bordenstein, Ava Casciato, Adam Levine, Noah Levine and Ella Zegarelli.

    In addition to a fun-filled event, Freshmen Field Day helps ninth graders establish and strengthen connections with their classmates and school.

    “Freshmen Field Day is a cherished highlight for many members of our school community,” Matthew said. “With the support of seniors, formerly known as junior mentors, dedicated teachers, and, of course, our junior mentors, we create an atmosphere of warmth and camaraderie throughout the day. From the engaging games to the freshmen breakfast and the thrilling themes, it serves as an energizing kickoff to the school year, bringing our school community closer together and welcoming the new freshmen through the spirit of Upper St. Clair.”

    Sixty junior mentors, assigned to freshmen homerooms, served as coaches and cheerleaders to their mentees throughout the event. Each homeroom selected a team name and theme, including McKnight Millionaires, Guarnaccio Gru and Minions, Robbibaro’s Rock Stars, Watsons Wizards, Cramers’ Cowboys and Cowgirls, Vizzini’s Vikings, Shefler’s Sheriffs, Nicholson’s Neon Narwhals, Langley’s Lifeguards, Newman’s Ninjas, Strayer’s Payers, Cackovic’s Soldiers, Junko’s Jakes from State Farm, Jasper’s Jokers, Valentine’s Valentines, Watkinson’s White Out and Lee’s Lumberjacks.

    The morning kicked-off with a mentor-mentee breakfast in the nutrition center, followed by a variety of competitive team events including tug-of-war, dizzy bat relay race, railroad relay, pipeline races, blind-folded dodgeball and others. A highlight this year was the addition of hungry hippos. The relay challenged students to work in teams – similar to a wheelbarrow race but the student is on a scooter – to collect the most balls under a basket.  

    Following the team games, ninth graders were able to spend time at the school’s annual Rush event. Rush, an activities fair hosted by Student Council, provides the school’s 100+ clubs with the opportunity to highlight their activities and recruit new members.

    Freshmen Field Day and Rush are both intended to help students with the transition to high school. As seniors looking back on their total high school experience, the senior leadership team members offered the following advice to this year’s freshmen:

    • get involved in after school activities
    • go to dances
    • don't procrastinate
    • keep up with homework
    • don’t forget to take appropriate breaks
    • enjoy every moment you have here at the high school

    Freshmen Field Day is an annual event organized by the Junior Mentor Program, which is led by faculty advisors Maureen Chermak, learning support teacher; Dr. Mike Funfar, mathematics teacher; Amanda Haas, mathematics teacher; and Tom Marquis, school counselor.

    Students in grade 11 are eligible to apply to serve as junior mentors in order to assist freshmen with the transition from middle school to high school. Each freshmen homeroom is assigned three to four mentors who provide information, encouragement and support throughout the ninth-grade year. Each year, approximately 60 juniors serve as mentors in the program.

    Most students can empathize with being nervous and anxious about the transition to high school. The mentor program helps to ease those feelings.

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