Partner School Stories

P2 Orientation at Potsdam HS

By Viola Patridge

Anyone’s first year in high school is intimidating. The Positivity Project Club (P2) welcome packets help students become successful. The welcome packets consist of a tote bag with a welcome letter, a list of clubs and organizations to join, a map of the school, information about our Positivity Project Food Market, coupons to local businesses, wristbands, and various school spirit merchandise.  Initially, the packets were for new students to our school district, however, the club decided to expand the project to include all first-year students. 

Creating these welcome packets would not have been possible without the help of P2 Club members, Mrs. Adams in the Guidance Office, and local businesses.  Working with our advisor, Mr. Davis, we figured out what materials we thought would be most helpful to the students.  Then we worked with Mrs. Adams and got to ordering!  P2 worked with the print shop, Great Northern Printing, in downtown Potsdam to create a design for the tote bags.  Once we received all of the items, assembly began!  Because this project was completed over the summer, many club members were busy due to various commitments.  As such, it was a challenge to have large numbers of people involved. I am grateful to have a core group of dedicated club members to help make this idea a reality.  

Last year, because of COVID-19, our school did not have an in-person orientation. As a first-year student myself, I found it difficult to learn about the school and connect with other students while being remote.  When I heard that this project needed a new chairperson, I thought it would be a great opportunity to help students feel more welcomed and become involved.  It was important that I checked off some major anxiety points that I, and other students, had during their first year in high school.  What if you get lost trying to find your class?  There is a map of the entire school inside the welcome packet!  How do you know what options are available to get involved?  We included a complete list of clubs and organizations to join!  

During the time that I was remote, the most connected that I felt to the school’s community was through P2.  I met some amazing people and I wanted to spread that positive impact throughout the school.  Participating in clubs is an important way to meet new people, develop new friendships, and make a difference in your school and community.  I was excited to help other students find activities they would enjoy. 

On orientation day, P2 Club members gave out the welcome packets to all of the 112 incoming first-year students.  We conducted icebreakers and teambuilding activities and gave the students tours of the school.  It is heart-warming to see the impact that the welcome packets have had on the students at school.  It makes me so happy to see students using the tote bags and becoming more involved with P2 itself.  So many first-year students have already stepped up within P2, and I can’t wait to see all of the ways they will contribute to enhancing the school and the club.

Viola Patridge

Viola Partridge is currently in 10th grade at Potsdam Central High school.  This is her second year in the High School P2 Club.  Outside of school Viola enjoys photography, fashion, and listening to music.