The Class of 2W2 began their 1,000-day Williamson journey with a 4-day First Year Experience (FYE) from Aug. 13-16 and are now going through registration and orientation from Aug. 21-27. Classes begin Aug. 28.
The first day of FYE, the second year it has been held, included welcoming remarks from President Michael Rounds, meeting in small discussion groups, a water balloon toss, and a diversity and tolerance presentation presented by Bishop Dr. Alvin Motley, of the Way Thru Christ Community Fellowship in Chester, and small group discussions.
The second day saw the students push the limits of what they thought they could do in Outward Bound in Philadelphia, a day of high rope courses and solving challenges in small groups.
Day three consisted of another diversity and tolerance presentation with Motley and small group discussions, and a talk by Michelle Radu of the Travis Manion Foundation, who stressed the importance of helping others. As a community service project, hosted by the foundation and in the spirit of Willliamson’s core value of service, the freshmen and many staff members, cleaned Wharton Square Park in Philadelphia.
Day four saw the entire freshman class travel to Fort Dix/McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey for a day on the leadership reaction course solving challenges in small groups. Williamson staff and faculty and senior class mentors directed the students in the challenges.
Dr. Todd Zachary, senior vice president and chief of staff, said the purpose of FYE is to help the freshmen become familiar with the school’s structure, get to know each other, develop an awareness of the cultural differences among the class, and increase their self-confidence.
“Our ultimate goal is to develop Williamson graduates with leadership skills,” said Zachary. “We do this by holding seminars on Williamson’s core values, the value of a Williamson scholarship, diversity and tolerance awareness, and leadership. There also are several hands-on experiential activities designed to develop self-confidence, teamwork, communication, and leadership skills. We hope that FYE helps students learn about themselves and their classmates while getting to know some of the staff and faculty and becoming more aware of Williamson’s structure.
“FYE made a significant impact in charting a new chapter forward for Williamson. Through these various activities, the transition to college for our freshmen has become far less intimidating, enabling them to hit the ground running at a far quicker pace.”
In his opening FYE remarks, President Michael Rounds, said “You have been given the gift of the opportunity to become Williamson men after three years. Please take this opportunity seriously. We have high standards and want you to do what you have to do to make it successfully.” He warned the freshmen to follow the rules and work hard because the reward is having 175 recruiters at two career fairs offering jobs and graduating with no debt.
Zachary added, “Now that we are in the orientation process, you can already see the impact the FYE experience had on this class. Having faced the challenges of FYE together, the bond between class members has taken a strong and accelerated leap forward, helping to strengthen the bridge of students moving from high school to college.”
FYE is only the beginning of Williamson’s leadership program which spans all three years of a student’s experience toward becoming a leader of character, a Williamson man.
Students were dropped off by their families on Aug. 21 and moved into their dorms. The day included talks by Rounds, Zachary, Dr. Samuel Wrightson, vice president of education, Thomas Moffitt, dean of students, and Jay Merillat, vice president of enrollment management, designed to help students and parents understand the Williamson approach to education. Freshmen and their parents also met with shop instructors in the shops to learn about the demands of each trade.
The rest of orientation includes talks on Williamson’s structure and rules, what is expected of students, things they need to know to succeed, and courses on CPR/AED. Between FYE and orientation, the freshmen are ready to hit the ground running as they begin their 1,000-day journey to success.