by Nicholas Mata
For years, the freshman kick-off event had been the standard introduction new students had been given to the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy. Before they set foot in any of their classes, the DPEA’s freshmen would be gathered together at the end of summer break. Traditionally held close to DP at Stow Canyon Park, the event had always served as little more than a meet-and-greet party and picnic for the DPEA’s fresh faces until this past year.
Thanks to the hard work of DPEA teacher Mrs. Shaeer and two parents (Jennifer Delgadillo and Shaunah Berg), the Freshman Kick-off Celebration for the Class of 2019 was bigger and better than ever. For starters, the event was moved to DP’s campus – it was held on Sunday, August 23 the week before school started. All of this year’s incoming freshmen met in the Greek for a short presentation giving them some basic information about the DPEA and what it means to be “in Engineering.” Freshmen were also introduced to some of the 19 business teams that help keep the Engineering Academy up and running.
The event itself was run under the direction of a group of volunteer parents in addition to some upperclassmen who donated their time to mentor the younger students. Ethan Berger, a junior who helped out at the event said, “We explained how the Engineering Academy works to them. We tried to comfort them about high school in general, and we took some of their questions.” Zach Wright, a junior in the DPEA who volunteered at the freshman kickoff, said “I think what we did this year for the freshman kickoff went a lot better than it did when I experienced it two years ago as a freshman.”
Speaking afterwards, 9th grade parent Doug Whetter commented, “I attended the Freshman Kickoff this year with my son, and I am glad that I did. It was a casual and friendly atmosphere, and everyone from the DPEA who volunteered was very welcoming. I especially liked when we broke up into small groups because it made it easier to ask questions, and it felt more personal hearing directly from a current student about what being in the DPEA is like.” Jamie Flint, another 9th grade parent added, “It was wonderful to have a current student talk about the details of the program and answer questions. My daughter was able to meet & socialize with the other kids in the academy, which made the first day of class easier.”
Overall, many freshman seemed to like the change in the event’s format. Jasper van der Meulen said, “I think the Freshman Kickoff has helped me be better prepared for the work I’ve been doing in the DPEA and at DP in general.” Matthew Spencer agreed, saying that “it really helped me start off the year…. It was informative and helped me get used to Engineering better. The food in the cafeteria was really great too!”
Shaunah Berg, one of the mothers who donated a large amount of time and effort to organize the event, explained some of the motivation behind it “Freshman Kickoff [was] a wonderful opportunity for freshman and their families to have any questions answered regarding the Engineering Academy. Groups [were] student led, and these well-informed EA students offered a strong insight as to what the Freshman experience would be like. Working with Jennifer Delgadillo and Emily Shaeer allowed us to create a fantastic event, and I am happy when both students and their families tell me how much they appreciated this informative afternoon.”
Jennifer Delgadillo, who also was a critical part of the event’s success added, “Hopefully, this introduction [will] help ease freshman into their first year at the DPEA.”
Without a doubt, this year’s Freshman Kickoff Event greatly surpassed the previous ones, and got the school year off to a great start for the DPEA’s Class of 2019!