North Salem surprises incoming freshmen with red carpet


North Salem surprises new students

5:52 a.m. PDT September 9, 2015

When I was starting high school, I dreamed that my first day would consist of me walking into the school, my hair blowing in the wind, and Manfred Man’s “Blinded by the Light” playing in the background.

Of course, first days like this only happened in the movies – until now.

On Tuesday, Sept. 8, incoming freshmen at North Salem High School were greeted on their first day by a red carpet, balloons and a couple hundred students, faculty and administrators.

Early-morning volunteers lined both sides of the red carpet leading into one of the school’s entrances. The line stretched from the street into the main hallway.

They clapped and cheered for every, single new Viking who walked down the carpet into the building for their first day. Almost all of the school’s faculty was present, in addition to the football team, cheerleaders, student council and more.

They cheered, “Welcome to North!” and “Good morning, it’s going to be a great year!”

Additionally, Cynthia Richardson, principal of North Salem, and Salem-Keizer School District Superintendent Christy Perry stood at the front of the carpet to welcome the freshmen.

Perry said she was impressed and thankful for all the people who were there and didn’t have to be, such as the upperclassmen who were there before 7 a.m. on their final day of summer.

This student-led initiative was meant to make the nearly 420 freshmen feel welcome and included. This was in addition to the fact that first-year students are given the first day to acclimate before the rest of the school’s students arrive on Wednesday.

Amanda Moore, 16, and Gracie Bell, 16, are both cheerleaders and cheer captains. They said the surprise was organized by the student council.

The girls agreed they would have loved for something like this to have happened on their first day.

“I think it is a really nice idea,” Moore said. “It makes the freshman feel welcome.”

Bell added, “It gives them an introduction to high school and sets them up for a great year.”

And it did just that.

Many of the students giggled with their friends as they tried to quickly get through the tunnel. Like being sung happy birthday, the students looked happy and excited, but a bit embarrassed and nervous as they passed through.

Principal Richardson said she was pleased with the surprise and is looking forward to an incredible year.

“It’s awesome that our students know how important they are,” Richardson said. “They are valued, ready to learn and ready to work. Now they know that North is the place to be.”, (503) 399-6745, or follow on Twitter @Nataliempate

Published by Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is a freelance journalist and author based in Salem, Oregon. She wrote about education for more than seven years at the Statesman Journal and now covers education and other topics throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is originally from Colorado and earned her B.A. in Politics and French from Willamette University.

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