Father John Zagarella, O. Praem, former headmaster and current guidance counselor for the Class of 2018, shares his thoughts on why 2nd quarter is the most wonderful time of the year, especially for our freshmen.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Doesn’t that sound like a great opening line for a Christmas song? Ah yes, but drat the luck, I do believe that somebody already took it (namely Edward Pola and George Wyle when they wrote the song in 1963)! While they were certainly thinking about Christmas, they probably never dreamed it would apply to this time in the life of a freshman at Archmere Academy. You see, from my perspective as the Guidance Counselor of Archmere’s Class of 2018, it really is the most wonderful time of this particular year.
The flip-flops of summer are a memory, and so, it seems, are the flip-flops of a new Auk’s tummy as the thrills and chills of transition befell him or her like an emotional avalanche (or like confetti at a Lady Gaga concert). It stands to reason…new school, new teachers, new classmates, new schedule, even new school colors, for Heaven’s sake! And a big, beautiful campus to figure out…with just four minutes in between classes to get un-lost! Then we need to figure out of it’s an A Day, an H Day or a D Day. Am I free this period or am I supposed to be in Honors Bio? Oops! I forgot my appointment with Father Zagarella!! OK, so that last one is still happening. But I am a counselor and I DO understand (and I DO run all over campus looking for them when they miss an appointment).
Yes, the first three months of life as an Auk are surely challenging ones. It IS a major transition for our students. But what a great place for our freshmen and transfer students to experience this new beginning. You see, Archmere is a happy place. The faculty, staff and students are happy (Mamma Mia, even the Principal is happy!)…and also are happy to help. Our new students know that from the minute that their parents turn onto Manor Ave that first day of school. You remember the scene…our seniors and faculty cheering the new Auks on with a warm and welcoming joyful noise. YES!
This time of year happens every year at Archmere, but only once in the life of a student. It is the most wonderful time of this year when our freshmen “get it”! They CAN excel academically and, at the same time, they CAN achieve athletically and/or artistically and at the same time they CAN figure out which class drops on an E Day! To be sure, from Labor Day to Thanksgiving the change within a new Auk is palpable…from blank stares to toothy smiles! They know they fit in and they do; they know they are in a safe place and that they are loved…and indeed they are! Go AUKS. Pietate et Scientia.