At first, Reese Daugherty, an incoming ninth-grader at Carlisle High School, said it was “scary” to whiz across a 30-foot-high zip line on Wednesday.
But she didn’t have any regrets.
“I am glad that I did it,” she said.
The zip line was just one of many activities offered as part of Herd 100, a transitional program held each August for Carlisle High School’s incoming freshmen. This year’s event, led by school staff and upperclassmen, started on Tuesday with initiation activities at the high school and continued through Wednesday with high-adventure fun at the Diakon Wilderness Center on South Mountain.
“This is awesome,” 11th-grader Caitlin Quattrone, a student team leader, said on Wednesday. “Everyone (here) is getting more comfortable with each other so they won’t feel as scared on the first day of school. I don’t want kids to be fearful of high school. It’s not bad at all.”
Indeed, Daugherty’s nervousness about transitioning from Wilson Middle School to high school when Carlisle schools open on Aug. 21 seemed to ebb on Wednesday right along with her initial fear of zip-lining.
“I was nervous about starting high school, but this is helping me to get to know people. This is a really, really fun experience,” Daugherty said with enthusiasm.
Ninth-grade principal Dave Frey said 148 of this year’s 390 incoming ninth-graders signed up for this week’s session, setting a “record high” for the years that Herd 100 has taken place. The event’s name refers to the bison, the high school’s mascot, and an initial goal of attracting at least 100 new freshmen to register each year.
“I think it’s word of mouth that’s bringing them in,” said Frey, who serves as a Herd 100 director with high school physical education teacher Lynne Kline and social studies teacher Rob Dutrey.
On Tuesday, ninth-grade participants toured the high school building and took part in character education group discussions, along with a few other orientation activities.
“There’s more to being a good student than just being good at math,” Frey explained about character education. “We had round robin discussions about topics like honesty, trustworthiness, persistence, organization and lots of other qualities. It was eye-opening for the kids. We all possess these, it’s just a matter of trying to resource these at the right moment.”
“So far, everyone here has been really positive,” said 12th-grader Verity Stine, another returning student team leader. “I’m trying to cheer everyone on so they will cheer on each other.”
Nearby, student team leader Will Keating, a senior, was busy leading a circle of ninth-graders in a rousing round of “Captain on the Deck.”
“It’s a lot of fun. I think the kids are being a little more energetic and willing to talk to each other now,” Keating said on Wednesday. “I liked this a lot when I did it (as a ninth-grader) and it was a lot of fun. I think it’s a good way for the freshmen to get to know each other.”