Ninth graders reflect on their first day of orientation

The Class of 2026 members gather in the Booster Gym for orientation.

Photo courtesy of

The Class of 2026 members gather in the Booster Gym for orientation.

The first day of high school can be a stressful experience for the incoming freshmen. Bellarmine has attempted to ease that transition by creating a day dedicated to freshman orientation. On Aug. 30, Link Crew leaders and freshmen gathered together in the Booster Gym to perform different activities focused on creating connections and new relationships.

Some freshmen share their experience on the day, and advice they would give for future orientations

Kiley Hentschell, freshman, said that “having that extra day solely for freshmen was a great way to ease me into starting highschool because I didn’t feel as nervous or overwhelmed as I might have if there had been more students there.”

Another freshman, Ila Erickson, shared a similar experience, “Freshmen orientation was probably a different experience for everyone but for me it really helped me feel more comfortable and closer to the community here at Bellarmine.”

A goal of the freshman orientation is to provide a comfortable environment where students can create new relationships. Coming from a different school that besides the feeder schools, St. Pats, St. Charles, and Charles Wright, it can be difficult to connect with new students that already have a fixed friend group.

Hentschell did not come from one of these schools, however she still found the orientation helpful for finding new friends: “Because our orientation groups were with students that were in our Ignatian Formation classes, I was able to connect with multiple students that I now have class with, and I’m glad I was able to go into my first day of highschool already knowing a couple of my classmates, especially as someone who didn’t come to Bellarmine from a typical feeder school.”

When it comes to meeting new people, it can be uncomfortable for some, and awkward at times. The icebreakers done at orientation consisted of greeting students and talking about their day. Hentschell shared her opinion that the ice breakers could’ve been more effective. “Sometimes it felt very forced and awkward and I would’ve rather had the chance to talk to other students about topics that we could relate to…”

When asked if she could change anything about the orientation Erickson said, “getting into groups with not just our Ignatian formation groups but with other people that I haven’t met yet.”

The orientation is primarily led by juniors and seniors, who had previously attended a freshman orientation. Both Henstchell and Erickson hope to be link crew leaders when the opportunity comes.

Erickson said, “I do see myself working as a link crew leader in the future, I want people to feel that they can always come to me for help or need someone to have by their side on the first couple days of school. I truly appreciate all the things the  link crew leaders have done for the freshmen class of 2026, forever thankful.”

The Class of 2026 students gather in the Booster Gym for orientation. (Photo courtesy of