College 101 Day Arrives at Manhasset High School

Michael Bakshandeh

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This year, for the first time ever, Manhasset will be holding a “College 101 day” for all graduating seniors on June 2, 2016. As the name craftily suggests, this program will serve as a crash course to everything college, specifically focusing on the social aspects of college. Many times, when seniors and juniors attend the information sessions of certain colleges, they are presented with glorified details regarding the stellar academic and totally safe social opportunities offered. In reality, however, college poses a new set of responsibilities that most graduating high school seniors have not yet experienced. With newfound independence comes newfound responsibility, and Manhasset district administration, faculty, CASA, and the SCA all created this program to ensure that students try to act responsibly in all situations. Specifically, this program is broken up into three components: the Red Watch Band Program, the Safe Center’s Healthy Relationships and Sexual Assault Prevention program, and the Adjustment to Freshman Year.

The Red Watch Band Program is actually not something new to Manhasset. Run by CASA and  taught by MHS faculty, this program was founded by Stonybrook University. The main goal of this program is to ensure that all students are equipped with relevant information regarding the risks of alcohol use and strategies to prevent tragic accidents. This program is designed to make students consciously aware of signs of alcohol-related emergencies and how to appropriately react to these situations. With the increasing prevalence of underage drinking in our society, it has become a necessity to have programs like CASA’s Red Watch Band Program that educate young students about the dangers of drinking. Don’t think, however, that this is a boring, lecture hall class. Seniors will be actively participating in hands-on situations that teach them how to respond during situations of duress. Over the past few years, this program has received overwhelmingly positive feedback, and Manhasset anticipates that this will be another successful year with the Red Watch Band Program.

The Safe Center’s Healthy Relationships and Sexual Assault Prevention program, run by the Safe Center of Long Island, focuses on teaching seniors the basics of comprehending all that encompasses sexual assault and relationship violence. This has unfortunately become an increasing problem in today’s society. Statistically speaking, one in five women will be sexually assaulted before they leave college, and while less frequent, some men will also be assaulted. It is therefore crucial that freshmen have the tools necessary to identify dangerous situations that could lead to assault. Again, the program will be extremely hands-on, making the students engage in “bystander intervention training” so that they know how to help when someone is in danger. This program is specifically underpinned by a New York State initiative, called “Enough is Enough.” The training will also teach students about the message of affirmative consent, which goes hand in hand with the saying, “Yes means Yes.”

Finally, the new Adjustment to Freshman Year Program, run by Adelphi University faculty, will focus on the academic, personal and social transitions involved with entering freshman year. This specific portion of the program will allow students to listen to a presentation and ask the presenters questions about college life. Ultimately, the goals of this part of the program will teach students how to be successful during their time at college along with how to properly utilize their newfound independence.

This extremely comprehensive program will last for a full day, and seniors will be divided into smaller groups based on last name. As the students rotate through the day, they will get to enjoy a pizza lunch as a class at 11:15 am. Students will be asked to provide feedback on their impressions of the day to help the SCA, CASA, district administration, and faculty think of how to more effectively construct the program for next year’s graduating class. In addition, students may be asked for feedback at some point after their graduation. Known as “exit interviews,” CASA will contact students with their consent and ask them how effective they thought the program was in preparing them for the hurdles of college life. Ultimately, in the words of Dr. Schlanger, the main focus of Manhasset is to find ways to best support their students at achieving success in the future, and this program is sure to be a step in the right direction!

For more information on any of these programs, feel free to visit the following websites:

www.redwatchband.org

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