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Meet the freshmen: New Concord High students discuss hopes, fears about high school

  • Halima Noor, 15, center, hugs Sevignee Mugisha, 15, after running into each other outside of Conord High School before the first day of school for freshmen on August 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Halima Noor, 15, center, hugs Sevignee Mugisha, 15, after running into each other outside of Conord High School before the first day of school for freshmen on August 27, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Jacob Reale, center, hangs out in the Concord High School commons while waiting for his group to move on to the tour during his first day on August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Jacob Reale, center, hangs out in the Concord High School commons while waiting for his group to move on to the tour during his first day on August 27, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • After a little bit of a struggle, Piper Cote makes it to her locker and chats with her classmates while opening it for the first time on Monday, August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    After a little bit of a struggle, Piper Cote makes it to her locker and chats with her classmates while opening it for the first time on Monday, August 27, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Kevin Planchete stands in the hallway with belongings trying to find his way to his group on his first day, August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Kevin Planchete stands in the hallway with belongings trying to find his way to his group on his first day, August 27, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Clinton Mungeta, center, sits with a small group of students during an ice breaker in the gym of Concord High School on his first day, August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Clinton Mungeta, center, sits with a small group of students during an ice breaker in the gym of Concord High School on his first day, August 27, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Morgan Costello listens to the opening assembly from the bleachers during her first day of school on Monday morning, August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Morgan Costello listens to the opening assembly from the bleachers during her first day of school on Monday morning, August 27, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Diamond Peters, center, looks to cross items off her icebreaker bingo sheet while getting to know her classmates using prompts like finding someone who likes glazed donuts and finding someone that left the state over the summer during her first day, August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Diamond Peters, center, looks to cross items off her icebreaker bingo sheet while getting to know her classmates using prompts like finding someone who likes glazed donuts and finding someone that left the state over the summer during her first day, August 27, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Deepash Darjee waits near the exit to one of the Concord High School commons while waiting for his group to move on to the tour on his first day, August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Deepash Darjee waits near the exit to one of the Concord High School commons while waiting for his group to move on to the tour on his first day, August 27, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Tyler Flanders rearranges things in his backpack while sitting on the granite steps outside the Concord High School auditorium before taking a tour of the school on his first day, Monday morning, August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Tyler Flanders rearranges things in his backpack while sitting on the granite steps outside the Concord High School auditorium before taking a tour of the school on his first day, Monday morning, August 27, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Halima Noor, 15, center, hugs Sevignee Mugisha, 15, after running into each other outside of Conord High School before the first day of school for freshmen on August 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Jacob Reale, center, hangs out in the Concord High School commons while waiting for his group to move on to the tour during his first day on August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • After a little bit of a struggle, Piper Cote makes it to her locker and chats with her classmates while opening it for the first time on Monday, August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Kevin Planchete stands in the hallway with belongings trying to find his way to his group on his first day, August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Clinton Mungeta, center, sits with a small group of students during an ice breaker in the gym of Concord High School on his first day, August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Morgan Costello listens to the opening assembly from the bleachers during her first day of school on Monday morning, August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Diamond Peters, center, looks to cross items off her icebreaker bingo sheet while getting to know her classmates using prompts like finding someone who likes glazed donuts and finding someone that left the state over the summer during her first day, August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Deepash Darjee waits near the exit to one of the Concord High School commons while waiting for his group to move on to the tour on his first day, August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Tyler Flanders rearranges things in his backpack while sitting on the granite steps outside the Concord High School auditorium before taking a tour of the school on his first day, Monday morning, August 27, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

Teachers lined the sidewalks on Concord High School’s campus yesterday morning as the marching band led about 430 wide-eyed freshmen through the school’s doors and into the gym for their first official day of high school.

“I love new beginnings, and it’s a new beginning for all students,” Principal Gene Connolly said.

Today, the sophomores, juniors and seniors return to school. But yesterday was a day only for those freshmen – a chance to meet their teachers, see old and new friends, and learn to navigate their way around their new home for the next four years. After an assembly in the gym, they split into teams where they played games, found their lockers and had a chance to ask questions about high school life. Their lunch was paid for in advance by this past May’s graduating class, a tradition that started about three years ago. Then, they spent the afternoon briefly attending each of their classes.

Several students spoke with the Monitor about their expectations and fears about high school. The photos above correspond in the same order as the students’ stories below:

Halima Noor

As the oldest of nine siblings, Halima Noor is the first to go to high school in her family. She’s used to transitioning to new schools – for elementary school she attended Beaver Meadow, the Kimball School and the Walker School – but she’s still nervous about moving to high school.

“It’s scary,” she said, while she stood with friends outside the school yesterday morning.

Despite those nerves, she’s looking forward to meeting her teachers and taking biology and algebra, both subjects she enjoys. As for electives, she’s chosen a class on color and design, and one on geography and culture. She also hopes to play on the basketball team.

Jacob Reale

Jacob Reale hit one snag on the first day of school: a broken locker. But he didn’t let it dampen his excitement about the new freedoms that high school brings.

“I get to wear my hat in school, and we get to use our phones sometimes, I get to hang out with a lot more of my friends now, and we get out earlier,” he said. He wore a bright yellow Boston Bruins Stanley Cup hat as part of his back-to-school attire.

Reale, who does a delivery route for the Monitor, has already met new friends on the football team, which started practice earlier this summer. Aside from football, he’s thinking of joining a club, although he’s not sure which one. He’s looking forward to staying in touch with old friends and meeting new ones.

Piper Cote

Piper Cote already has a plan for high school: play on the soccer team, and maybe the softball team, without taking her focus off of her academics, which need to stay strong so she can go to college for either forensic anthropology or veterinary medicine. She’s most excited for her Spanish class and a course on the history of jazz and rock ‘n’ roll.

Cote just began attending Concord schools during the fall of eighth grade, after moving here from Epsom. Her older sister already attends the high school and her mother is an alumni, which is calming her nerves about moving from middle to high school.

“I’m nervous because this is really big, but my sister goes here,” she said as she searched for her locker yesterday morning. “I think she’s gonna help me out a lot, and I know a lot of kids, so you know, I think I’ll be okay.”

Kevin Planchete

Kevin Planchete made his entrance into school while playing his trumpet with Concord High’s marching band, which convened last week to begin practicing for the first day back. After putting away his trumpet, Planchete walked around the school armed with a light-blue folder containing all of his classroom information. But like many students yesterday, he was flustered by the size of the high school.

“I’m probably going to get lost,” he acknowledged after saying he was excited for the start of school.

In addition to playing in the band, he’s thinking about joining drama club.

Clinton Mungeta

Clinton Mungeta is a refugee student who came to Concord last year from Burundi. He and fellow freshman Deepash Darjee are teammates on the freshmen soccer team. And like his friend, he said he likes living in Concord so far.

“It’s good because it has the lowest crimes,” Mungeta said.

He’ll focus on being a good student and reaching high academic goals he’s already set for himself.

Morgan Costello

Morgan Costello took advantage of tours offered by the school last week to start learning her way around the building, and it helped calm her fears about entering high school.

“When I walked around, that made me less nervous,” she said.

She’s also no stranger to new schools. Costello moved to New Hampshire from Connecticut in the middle of last school year. She’s happy that mid-year move allowed her to make some friends before entering high school. She also earned high marks in middle school and hopes to continue doing so this year.

“I’m excited to try to get straight A’s, because I feel like it’s possible,” she said.

Diamond Peters

Diamond Peters was a social butterfly on day one, laughing and chatting with old and new friends on the outside steps where students played get-to-know-you ice breakers. She loves meeting and interacting with new people, and was surprised to find out that many other students already know her name.

She wants to see if the school has an art club, and plans on continuing dancing through a program run by Shamecca Brown, who ran after-school dance programs at the middle and high school last year. Peters is also signed up to play the trombone in the band, but is unsure whether she’ll stick with it.

Her main goal for this year?

“I hope I get my work done,” she said.

Deepash Darjee

Deepash Darjee is a Nepalese refugee who moved to Concord six months ago. He’s joined the soccer team, a sport which he played in his home country. Like many students, he is a bit anxious about transitioning from Rundlett Middle School to the much bigger campus at Concord High School. He plans to stay focused on his academics and take advantage of the opportunities that America provides.

“Here, there is a good and regular sun for the people, and they are safe and have a bright future,” he said.

Tyler Flanders

Tyler Flanders had a chance to learn his way around the high school earlier this month during the two-week Summer Bridges Program. Through that program, about 40 students come to campus early to meet their teachers, get started on academics and meet fellow students.

“It helps kids transition more smoothly,” said Flanders, who wore a tie-dyed shirt from the week that said “Build Bridges, Not Walls.”

He said he’s a little nervous about the transition to high school because the school is large and he liked all of his middle school teachers. But he’s excited for some of his classes, including the history of jazz and rock class. As for joining extracurricular clubs, he’ll wait and see if any pique his interest.

“I have to see what they are first,” he said.

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