This past November, the final school redistricting call was made, leaving hundreds of Howard County students with little or no choice but to transfer schools next fall. Some are excited, while others are dreading the ordeal, which is why Atholton stepped in to give a warm “welcome!”
On Tuesday, January 28th, Atholton hosted a new parent and student orientation night in the auditorium to ease the anxiety of the transition from their current school to Atholton.
“The best thing that we can do to make sure the transition is as easy as possible is to attend all the orientations,” said parent, Mrs. Walcott. “And I’m so happy that there are so many orientations prior to the start of school in August.”
The students that were affected by the district-wide change and will be attending Atholton next year are a combination of tenth and eleventh graders from either Oakland Mills or Hammond High School. Students in eleventh grade had the option to either stay at their current school or transfer to the school of their new housing zone, if applicable. The welcoming event served as an introduction to Atholton’s administration, boosters programs, academic departments, and the R.A.I.D. values—relationships, achievement, integrity, and diversity.
Following the presentation in the auditorium, the Senior Dance Company gave a performance on stage before the families went for a tour of the building and refreshments made by Ms. Razik’s culinary class. A number of JROTC cadets came to the event to give tours and answer any additional questions the parents or students had.
According to Mrs. Bonner, a parent of an incoming student, she feels great about her son coming to Atholton and isn’t nervous about it. “I see a lot of programs my son is into,” she added.
Although the parents seemed to be pleased about their kids attending Atholton next year, it was evident that the prospective students felt differently. “I’m going to be leaving some of my friends,” said Benedicta Asamoah. Next year, she will be a junior at Atholton, but she does not want to leave her current school.
Another prospective student, Ben Hebron explained he was not “stressed about anything” at the moment and that getting a tour of the school gave him a better feel of the atmosphere. “I just don’t want to move,” concluded Hebron. Hebron is involved in the choir at his current school so the one thing he is eager to do is join the music department.
In the past, the school only did one big orientation in August to welcome incoming freshmen. This is the first year that there will be multiple orientations to welcome new students of all circumstances.
Mr. Motley expects Atholton’s fellow students to continue creating an environment with the R.A.I.D. values in mind and invite the new kids into their friend groups.
It is hard to tell what the future holds for Howard County Schools when the redistricting changes are active. According to Mr. Motley, this is the first phase of many alterations considering the thirteenth high school will be ready for the 2024 school year. “I’m one of those people that doesn’t like to predict. We will see when the doors open in September and go from there.”