MORRIS – Morris Community High School freshmen are preparing to start their lives as Morris Redskins.
No longer will they be Braves, Hawks, Foxes, Knights or Angels. Instead, they are the Morris High School Class of 2018.
That was the message Principal Kelly Hussey shared with them at freshman orientation Thursday afternoon.
“High school is the steppingstone to their future,” Hussey said before the assembly started. “Their freshman year is the most important year. We don’t judge the individual based on their peers. We tell them to look into the mirror and be the best you you can be.”
Trevor Tanke and Joey Lyle, who are entering the school after graduating from Saratoga last spring, are both excited about playing Redskins football, but they both have anxiety about starting their high school career.
“I’m excited for the experience,” Lyle said. “Not so much for the school work, but I passed elementary school so I should be OK.”
Tanke said he’s worried about how friendships will be affected. But he’s also excited about making new ones.
Arlene Valerio and Alexis Munoz, both coming to the high school from Shabbona Middle School, said the most exciting part of high school is meeting new people and making new friends. That is the scary part, too.
“Having to meet new people and start all over is going to be hard,” Valerio said.
Jazmynn Geist from Saratoga is looking forward to extracurricular activities such as marching band and attending dances.
Like many young people, she also has fears about bullying.
“I’m worried about bullying by the upperclassmen, or not fitting in,” Geist said.
The student council was on hand for orientation. Members participated in the opening segment of the afternoon and were in each classroom as freshmen went from class to class, following their new schedule.
Student council president Leah Lines told them not to worry too much. If any of them had any questions, they could approach any student council members who were there Thursday. They’d also be available during regular school hours to help.
“I’d tell them ‘don’t be nervous, don’t freak out’,” student council member Taylor Cole said. “High school is fun. You just have to enjoy it.”
Hussey told the group he’d be their biggest cheerleader and demonstrated by leading them all in a cheer before they started their schedules.
Superintendent Pat Halloran said there are very few changes expected this year.
“Other than starting five minutes earlier and getting out five minutes earlier, everything is staying pretty much the same,” Halloran said.
He said brief adjustments were made to the day to help with shared transportation with Saratoga and District 54.
“Nothing jumps out as being different or new this year,” Halloran said. “That in itself is exciting.”
The district has kept student fees the same as last year. Book fees are $150. The IHSA fee is $50 per sport or activity, with a maximum of $100 per student.
An invoice with any remaining class fees will go home on Sept. 5. Payment can be made online with E-Pay or by submitting payment to the main office.
Other fees include:
• Vocational Certification Fee - $100
• AP Test Fee - $89
• Drivers Education Fee - $50
• Dual Credit Book Fee - $30 each
• Lab Fee - Foods and Art $30; Industrial Art $35
START DATES FOR AREA PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS
• Gardner-South Wilmington Township High School District 73
• Minooka 111
• Coal City School District 1
• Morris Community High School District
• Channahon School District 17
• Wilmington 209U
• Gardner Community Consolidated School District 72C
• Mazon-Verona-Kinsman Elementary School District 2C
• Minooka School District 201
• Morris Elementary District 54
• Nettle Creek District 24
• Newark School District 66
• Saratoga School District 60C
• Seneca Grade School District 170
• Seneca Township High School
Sources: School district websites