Medford, Ore – For high school freshmen the first day of school can be a frightening experience but a tradition at South Medford High School is looking to change that and achieve some ambitious graduation goals in the process.
It’s all high fives and smiles at South Medford High as the Class of 2020 walks through the doors into the next four years of their lives.
“Every year we welcome our freshmen in through a freshmen tunnel, and we do that because every four years we have our students exit through a tunnel and close their time here,” said South teacher Kalin Cross.
The year 2020 has a special meaning for the South Medford staff and United Way volunteers that lined the tunnel.
“Our goal for the 2017 is 80% graduation and then 90% and then we want 100%, we’re really focusing on the class of 2020 which is entering freshmen, but it’s all classes,” said Superintendent Brian Shumate.
That’s why the freshmen will be paired up with upperclassmen at South and shown the ropes.
“It’s juniors and seniors, and it’s kind of like, if you’re a freshmen getting to know upperclassmen is really cool, it gets them more comfortable,” said Tatiana Gonzalez, a senior.
In four years the goal is for 90% or more to make the same trip, just in a different direction, as a high school graduate.
“I walked through the same tunnel and this year I’ll be walking through the same tunnel with my teachers and seeing everybody,” said Gonzalez.