On Friday, June 22, while most secondary school students were busy enjoying their summer break, you'd expect Killarney Secondary's halls to be empty. You'd be wrong. While their older schoolmates were outside enjoying summer, Killarney's halls were buzzing with the nervous energy of roughly 400 future elementary school graduates.
The younger students were at Killarney for an orientation day. Each student hailed from one of Killarney's six feeder elementary schools. In the halls, the graduating Grade 7 students toured their future home, sampling a wide-variety of courses including autoshop, home economics, drama, graphics, choir, dancing and taking a library tour.
"The whole idea behind this orientation is to lower fear and apprehension around the transition from elementary to secondary school," says Dave Derpak, Killarney's Principal.
Vania Delgado, a Grade 8 student who took the orientation last year, said it was an invaluable experience when it came to introducing her new school - the second largest in British Columbia with roughly 2,100 students.
"It really helped give me a sense of what I could expect going into the next year," says Delgado. "I think it really makes a difference and allows kids to make a friend or two during the orientation."
Delgado and a half dozen of her friends were back at the school as volunteers to help their choir teacher run workshops with the visiting groups of Grade 7s.