Future Skyhawks

Julia Stalnaker

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Most of us Skyhawks grew up knowing that we would spend our high school years at Southridge. As it turns out, that was a comfort we should not have taken for granted. Due to the newly redrawn BSD boundaries, starting next year many kids in our district will attend a high school other than the one they originally planned on. So how does Southridge welcome a new group of future Skyhawks and make them feel like a part of our community even though they historically haven’t been? A quick chat with principal Nieslanik provides some answers.

Social media is a tool that will be heavily utilized throughout the process. This way, both parents and kids will easily be able to connect to the community. A new hashtag, #earningmywings, will be used in all social media campaigns. One campaign involves showcasing photos of future Skyhawks at their current elementary schools (an example of this would be showing a “future Southridge sports star” playing soccer during their recess). Photo booths will also be brought to elementary schools. At these photo booths, kids can take pictures with SRHS gear, and the photos will be posted on bulletin boards. In addition, a new Southridge Mobile will be driving around to our feeder elementary schools to hand out school gear.

To celebrate Dr. Seuss Day on March 2nd, SRHS students will be visiting feeder elementary schools to read to children and talk about Southridge and being a Skyhawk. The event will be called Reading With Future Skyhawks, and students can sign up to participate. While Southridge will be making its way over to the elementary schools, Whitford, Highland and Conestoga middle schools will come here to enjoy the Addams Family production and tour the school.

The ‘Future You’ tagline has been seen a lot around our school, but in April it will be replaced by “Creating Opportunities Together.” Future You focuses on the student body as individuals and how they can grow independently through the school and its programs. Creating Opportunities Together will instead focus on the entire SRHS community, and highlight the different avenues through which we can all work together to shape the future of our school. Any Future You banners or posters that are still up will be taken down by April, and replaced with ones for Creating Opportunities Together. Some of these will eventually be made in multiple languages that are prominent in our community, including Spanish, Arabic, and Japanese.

Welcoming new and future Skyhawks will not just take place outside school grounds. In fact, there are many upcoming events that current students can get involved with. This April there will be a family event held at Southridge to bring together our new community. At the beginning of next school year, a new program called Southridge Siblings will be rolled out. Students new to SRHS next year have filled out surveys, answering questions about their interests and what they hope to do here. Current Southridge students (that will not be moving to a new school next year) will do the same and be matched up with one of the incoming students. The six students organizing the program will match students up based on their survey answers. For example, an incoming Skyhawk that wants to play volleyball could be matched up with someone on a Southridge volleyball team. Every incoming student will have a “sibling,” but not every current student will. Finally, preview days in August will look a little different. They will become more of a family/community event, and there will be a real focus on the current students welcoming the Southridge newcomers.

It is important to keep in mind that some of these events, programs, and outreach strategies will stay around for just a little while, and others for a couple of years. However, what must always remain is Skyhawks embracing and accepting Skyhawks, and positively representing Southridge. No matter what our new community looks like, or where its members come from, our unity and pride in our school must stay intact.