Freshmen Celebrate at Tailgate!


Julia Roeschenthaler, Staff Writer

On Friday September 6th, over one hundred Upper St. Clair freshmen attended the Freshman Tailgate held before the football game against Baldwin High School. In addition to freshmen, the student section leaders, members of the Junior Mentor program, and members of the Natural Helpers program were involved as well. Families were encouraged to attend the event also, and food, games, and other forms of entertainment were provided throughout the course of the tailgate. 

Dr. Wagner, the current principal of Upper St. Clair High School and one of the main coordinators of the Freshman Tailgate, provided some insight on the thought process behind the event: “We’ve talked for a long time about the important transition from eighth to ninth grade and how we best support that, and we have to support that, in my perspective, both from sort of an intellectual, a cognitive perspective but also from a social and emotional perspective. And so the freshman get-together, the Freshman Barbeque, was really in an effort to create an atmosphere for ninth graders to feel very comfortable, to be among people that they’re used to being around, but at the same time, to introduce them in an authentic way to the larger high school community.” By establishing an environment in which students could not only enjoy time with their peers, but also begin to feel more comfortable with Upper St. Clair staff members as well as upperclassmen, the coordinators of the Freshman Tailgate opened the door to a number of opportunities in regard to aiding ninth graders in their transition to the high school.

Both the staff members behind the Freshman Tailgate and students who attended the event were pleased with its results. Jack Shearer recounted his experience: “I had lots of hotdogs and hamburgers, chips, cookies, and I played football, I played catch.” When asked if he would recommend the event to incoming freshman, Shearer declared that “it’s a good experience that gets you into the high school football season.” Another freshman, Evan Sarkett, agreed with Shearer, and said that the event helps students to become better acquainted with each other. 

Dr. Wagner shared similar views to the students and thought that “all around, it was a general success.” He also referenced his intention to hold the Freshman Tailgate again in the future: “We definitely will make this an annual event, but Mrs. Tarcson and I are working very hard to think about other ways throughout the year that we can create opportunities for ninth graders to have some time together and to continue to explore what it is to be a high schooler in a safe and nurturing environment.” 

Whether through tailgates and football games or assemblies and conferences, it is clear that Upper St. Clair staff members as well as students are working to make the high school a more welcoming, open, and positive environment for freshmen as a whole.