Incoming ninth-graders got a taste of what to expect from high-school life Tuesday at Bradwell Institute’s revamped freshmen orientation, dubbed Camp BI. Bradwell administrators said the freshmen-only introduction to the school was held to help students adjust from middle school to high school.
“It’s an opportunity for them to have the school to themselves for one night,” Bradwell Institute Assistant Principal Jason Stickler said.
BI Principal Scott Carrier said an expanded freshmen orientation like Camp BI could not be held last year due to building renovations. This year, school administrators wanted freshmen to get acquainted with Bradwell, so they would know where to go and what to expect. This increased effort to help familiarize ninth-graders with their new surroundings should help ease first-day jitters, Carrier said.
Stickler added that at the end of the 2012-13 school year, eighth-graders were given tours of Bradwell, another move designed to help ease students’ transitions.
“We’re expecting between 500-525 freshmen,” Carrier said. “You really don’t know how many you’ll have until the first day.”
Many families move over the summer, he said.
Carrier said Camp BI was expanded to include tours of the school, with groups of students and parents shown around by JROTC cadets. The school band performed for families, and Bradwell cheerleaders lined the school’s main hallway to give students a rousing welcome. Ninth-graders also had the opportunity to purchase locker locks and spirit items prior to the school’s open house for all grades.
Liberty County public schools will hold open houses from 3-6 p.m. Monday. The new school year begins Wednesday.
Bradwell’s four assistant principals, Stickler, John Ryan, Roland Van Horn and Stephanie Woods, greeted freshmen and their families as parents entered the building. Counselors also made themselves available to answer students’ and parents’ questions.
Carrier told incoming freshmen, “All of you get a clean slate and a fresh start.”
He advised ninth-graders to study hard and follow the rules.
“What starts in ninth grade follows you to the end of your time here,” Carrier said.
He told freshmen they should begin developing their grade-point average now so they can be prepared for college, trade school or a career at graduation.
“You want that GPA to be as high as you possibly can get it,” he said.
Carrier said to get students college- and career-ready, they will face “a challenging curriculum.”
The principal also cautioned ninth-graders to behave, as educators have high expectations of their students both academically and behaviorally.
“If our classes aren’t well-controlled, our students can’t learn,” he said.
Carrier told freshmen they would be rewarded for good behavior with perks such as added dress-down days, and he warned they would face consequences for bad behavior.
“We do this for your benefit, to create a successful learning environment,” he said.
Carrier has been in education for 31 years, has been the principal at Bradwell for nearly five years and previously was the principal at Frank Long Elementary School for six years.
“A lot of these kids I saw all the way through elementary school,” Carrier said. “And now, I’m seeing them through high school. For some, I’ve been their principal for 10 years.”
Carrier said the 40-plus-year-old Bradwell is a solid building, having been expanded and renovated several times. Last year’s remodel including updating school science labs, he said.
The principal said the school system has been fortunate that residents have supported the education SPLOST, so school facilities continue to be improved, thus bettering education for local children.
He added that the Department of Defense Education Activity grant that Bradwell received last year to expand Advanced Placement programming will “make an impact” on the class of 2017.