HOP forced to go online

Freshman orientation takes on a new form

By Karuna Chandran and Leila Salam

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, incoming freshmen will attend a virtual Homestead Orientation Program (HOP) for the first time in HHS history.

HOP commissioners Olivia Lee (12) and Bobby Gorelick (11) said they plan to release a YouTube video addressing important information along with hosting a Zoom meeting to answer any questions incoming freshmen may have.

Social distancing regulations have prevented HOP commissioners from planning an in-person HOP day like in previous years. (Infographic by Leila Salam)

In addition to the YouTube video, there are other components to the virtual HOP day.

“We’ll also have a Q & A-style HOP Day through Zoom, [organized by alpha groups],” Gorelick said in a Zoom interview. “We’ll [put freshmen] in breakout rooms with HOP leaders [so they can] give, a more in person feel [and] answer any questions or concerns the freshmen have.”

Gorelick said freshmen will be setting up their own emails online.

Due to the social distancing regulations and the large population of incoming freshmen, Gorelick said the school will not be able to  provide an in-person HOP day like in previous years.

Gorelick said the summer mailer, which all freshmen receive, will include information about HOP day, with more information available on the HHS website

Senior HOP commissioner Olivia Lee said in a phone interview that among other things, during HOP day, freshmen learn about the layout of the campus, details about theASB package and on-campus resources. Important information will be given not only to students but to parents, as well.

“We have a lot of documents specifically for the parents at POP [Parent Orientation Program] night,” Lee said. “We are hoping to either send those out in a SchoolLoop blast or to just have them on the Homestead website so that parents can look at them.” 

The virtual start has raised questions for incoming freshmen, like Desiree Poon, about the next four years.

“My biggest concern is that [the schedule] might be weird because we’re just moving into high school, Poon said in a Zoom interview. “Our classes are going to be new. Our teachers are going to be new. We won’t be familiar with Homestead.” 

Even though HOP will be held virtually, Lee said she is confident HOP will give freshmen a good idea of what HHS is like.

“HOP is really important for the incoming freshman because it is the first time that they get to meet anyone from Homestead and it is also the first time that they get to meet [some of their] future classmates,” Lee said.

Lee said she hopes commissioners and leaders will be able to provide guidance and answer any questions to relieve incoming freshmen of some stress they might be experiencing when entering this new chapter of their lives.

“I think the most important thing that they learn [through HOP] is that they are not alone at Homestead and that no matter what they will always have the commissioners to ask or the leaders to talk to,” Lee said.