By Ashley Conde ’17
School has been in session for almost a month, but Welcome Day unofficially marks the true beginning of the new school year. Welcome Day is the first major school event that unites students and faculty in celebrating new members of the Immaculate Heart school community.
While Welcome Day is steeped in tradition, it also incorporates students’ innovative ideas. This year, each class presentation paid homage to a cult-classic. For example, the honored Class of 2020 portrayed its members as the Freshmen of Bel-Air. Then there were the Sandlot Sophomores, Jurassic Park Juniors, and Save Ferris Seniors. The day also included lively spirit games that fostered friendly class rivalry and a humorous faculty presentation.
Welcome Day was bittersweet for many of the Save Ferris Seniors. They celebrated their final Welcome Day with a dramatic poster reveal, video presentation, and spirited dance. The day was “both exciting and sad,” acknowledged at least one senior. For yet another senior, it was “surreal” to join hands and sing the alma mater on the quad at the end of her last Welcome Day.
Jurassic Park Juniors amazed the school with their electrifying dance, creative skit, and fierce poster. Juniors Leah Domantay, Michelle Kim, and Katherine Lazier thoroughly enjoyed the day’s festivities and proudly remarked, “We are going to win.” They were, however, slightly peeved that their class was not allowed to purchase a unifying item. Traditionally, the seniors purchase matching costumes, but this year the freshmen donned matching green caps and the sophomores sported yellow baseball shirts. All the same, these juniors expressed excitement at the prospect of becoming upperclasswomen and receiving their class rings later in the year.
For their second Welcome Day, the Sandlot Sophomores gave a dynamic presentation and welcomed the freshmen into their “team.” Their gifts of handwritten notes and a stick of gum were particularly thoughtful. Sophomores Jessica Chun, Kaitlyn Park, and Alane Park had “a great time” on Welcome Day. They enjoyed seeing the old freshman photographs of their teachers, and they look forward to this year’s Winter Formal.
The Freshmen of Bel-Air performed a fun rendition of the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. They impressed the student body with a hilarious skit, colorful poster, and ’90s costumes. Although “overwhelmed at first,” freshmen Angelica Limoanco, Jane Kim, and Catherine Denton enjoyed their first Welcome Day. They appreciated each class’ energetic welcomes and were impressed with the junior class’ skit and dance. The freshmen felt especially welcomed when the seniors encircled and sang around their class. They look forward to making new friends during their first year.
This year’s Welcome Day was also a new experience for Naemah Morris in her new role as Immaculate Heart Principal. Welcome Day, she said, is one of her favorite school events, a community-oriented tradition unique to IH. To Ms. Morris, Welcome Day is special because of the students’ “enthusiasm and creativity.” Each year she is impressed with student presentations, she said, but this year she especially singled out the thematic unity of each class as students presented their skits, songs, and dance numbers.
Ms. Morris has witnessed Welcome Day in different capacities — as student, teacher, moderator, and principal — and each position alters her experience. As a student, she said she was concerned with putting together a good class presentation. She has fond memories of her Welcome Day, from her experiences as a “Freaky Freshmen from Beyond” to her proposal of “Sesame Street Sophomores” to her involvement in her junior and senior class presentations.
She later worked with and supervised students as the sophomore class moderator. Most recently, she served as the school’s director of student activities, a position that coordinates Welcome Day and is now held by Nicole Dunn. “Ms. Dunn did a superb job this year,” Ms. Morris pointed out.
Observing Welcome Day now as a principal meant “everything was a big surprise,” said Ms. Morris. This year was most “entertaining, ” she added.
Ms. Morris said she most looks forward to “helping our school move forward and achieve its goals” this year. She is excited to “assess what our needs are” and help meet them.
Her advice to freshmen is to “enjoy every minute of being here” and to “get the most of what IH has to offer.” She enjoys talking to students and encourages all to stop by and greet her.
Welcome Day established a spirited and energetic tone for the coming year. As the dust settles on our class posters and we move forward from the anticipation and happiness of Welcome Day, let us heed the immortal words of Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once in awhile, you could miss it.”
Congratulations and thank you to those who made this year’s Welcome Day so successful.