1 February 2017
Every year, Passaic Valley hosts its 8th grade orientation. On this day, 8th graders and their parents from the three towns visit PV and receive a tour of the school and what we have to offer. This year, however, the Guidance Department and Mr. Ray Rotella, with help from Mr. Joseph Benvenuti and Mr. Robert Carcich, decided to make a change on how the orientation would be presented. The 8th grade orientation switched to an open-house format to allow attendees more choice and the opportunity to peruse at their own pace.
Each sport, department and club designed presentations to capture the attention of the 8th graders. The Criminal Justice Club brought in the Little Falls bomb squad. The Arts Department was well-represented, including the band playing a piece from one of their concerts, the choir singing three songs, and the theater classes performing an improv demonstration in the auditorium.
On the academic side, the AP courses set up a showcase in room 111B. Former PV students came and spoke about the advantages of taking AP classes and earning college credits. The AP room even included a Writing Lab feature, Criminal Justice class, CITVC, PVTV, Holocaust and Genocide classes, and the Zero Period Accelerated Italian class for 8th graders. The Science Department did experiments in the library, and the volleyball team played a pick-up match in the middle of the Gris gym.
Zachary Bleeker’17 showed off the augmented reality helmet and showcased the 3D printer in PV’s new Makerspace. “It was a really cool opportunity to show what the STEM program has to offer. My favorite part was showing the kids the augmented reality helmet, and seeing their faces. They were priceless.” There were also student mentors who helped answer the many questions that were asked and gave parents and students their point of view on being a student at PV.
Overall, between 400-500 people, including parents and students, attended the event. Though a success, the administrative team outlines some things they’d like to improve for next year. Mr. Benvenuti and Rotella, state that they would like to keep in constant contact with the district so people can be aware of what is happening in PV, and get a bigger room for the AP presentations because the lines were long.
According to the administration, we received a lot of positive feedback and both parents and students asked a lot of questions . Mr. Rotella stated that he heard many parents and students say that they “didn’t know PV had all of these things.” Interacting with parents and students during the orientation provided crucial information. “Now we know what people are interested in,” Mr. Rotella elaborated. This will help the school explore a little further what people are interested in and can lead to enhancing that interest by guiding students to participate in activities or classes that have to do with their interest.
In the end, the new format of the 8th grade orientation had an impressive turnout. Many questions were asked and new discoveries on what PV has to offer were made. Later on in the year, the 8th graders will return to Passaic Valley to participate in various activities which are yet to be announced.
Mr. Rotella would also like to thank the staff and student volunteers, “They really made it a successful night.”