BROOKVILLE — The new school year is just around the corner, or just after the next weekend, and that can mean big changes for some students. At Brookville High School it means the move from grade school to the high school for the incoming 7th graders. To make this move easier the high school has bridge camp so the 7th graders can get familiar with the school before the new year starts.

Bridge camp is started with introductions and a pizza party in the cafeteria so the students are full and ready to focus. Once the students have been divided into their groups the fun of the day begins.

The bridge camp divides the kids into four groups so they can cycle through the stations. They spent 45 minutes at each of four stations. The stations are spread throughout the school so the students get to walk around get familiar with the halls. The students also get to stop for a snack break partway through the day.

The first station was the drug and alcohol awareness station in the gym lobby. Here the students participate in a relay where they have to unwrap a Hershey’s Kiss with gloves on, to represent impairment. Then they learn some facts about alcohol and how it impairs the body. Later they had the opportunity to try on goggles that simulated impairment from alcohol. Once they had the goggles on, they had to try to walk a straight line, catch a ball, or try to high five, which proved to be very difficult for them.

The next station was the “dream big” activity, where the students were asked to think about what they wanted to do when they leave school. This station was in the auditorium lobby, which is also by the doors that students will be using to enter the school this year. To start the station, the 7th graders were shown how the new metal detectors work. They watched a demonstration of how the lights work, and were told what to expect on the first day of school. Then they walked through the metal detectors themselves to see what it was like.

The other part of the station is spent drawing a picture of what they want to do with their lives. There were many different careers among the children, the most interesting was “vlogger,” which uses video as opposed to using only the written word as in blogging. Instead they are vlogging.

The next stop was the scavenger hunt station in the cafeteria lobby. The students were able to pick up their classroom schedules for the school year here, and then take a tour of where those classrooms are located. While seeing their classrooms they had a scavenger hunt to complete along the way. Each classroom, and other important rooms like the main office, nurse’s office, gym, and extracurricular rooms had a key word posted by their doors. Students had to match the key word to the room on the paper they had with them.

The fourth station focused on team building and was held in a classroom across from the nurse’s office. Here the students read the books made by last year’s eighth graders about what to expect in seventh grade, and tips they have about the high school. This is a project the older students complete in their English class. After reading through the books the seventh graders had a chance to ask their group leaders any questions they still had. The group leaders are all older students that have been in the high school for a few years.

But before the students were able to go to their fourth station, all the groups came back together in the cafeteria were they found snacks and drinks. This time was also used to tell the students about all the ways they can get involved in high school. Coach Scott Park started it off by talking about all the sports available to the junior high students.

“Make the best of your junior high career, get involved,” Park told the new students. He talked about the need to have a good amount of students from each grade join a sport. He mentioned that he only knew of three incoming seventh graders that had signed up for football so far. Having a gap in participation from year to year makes it hard for the team as a whole. He also talked about all the girls sports that have junior high teams as well.

Next drama club instructor Andilynne Kalkbrenner got up to talk about the ways students can get involved outside of athletics. She talked about the musical and drama club. The auditions for the musical will be the first Friday of classes, and all students have an opportunity to participate. The drama club also performs a spring play for those that maybe can’t participate in the fall musical.

By the end of the day at Bridge Camp, the goal is for all the incoming students to feel confident when they walk into the building on their first day of the new school year. By this point students should have an idea of what to expect in the morning, where their locker is, and where all their main classes are located.

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