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San Marcos High School welcomes over 500 students to incoming Class of 2026 Freshmen Orientation

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The transition from 8th grade to high school is considered a rite of passage for many Santa Barbara students.

Thursday, incoming freshmen toured the San Marcos high school campus to get a preview of the year to come.

“That's the whole purpose of the day, is so they can meet new people, they learn a little bit more about the school and just to make them more comfortable at ease as they start school tomorrow,” said Activities Director Aaron Solis.

Faculty and staff also showed where teens can find important resources to help them.

High school volunteers like junior Camila Martinez guided incoming freshmen through ice breaker activities.

“They were really shy when they came in and then they kind of opened up once they got more comfortable to the environment,” said Student Orientation Leader Camila Martinez.

Students also engaged in conversations centered around personal challenges they have had to overcome.

“If we know what's going on outside the classroom, it makes our job easier here every year,” said Ethnic Studies Teacher Abel Gonzalez.

“I told them this morning that we care about them and we love them. And I'm looking forward to shaking everybody's hand at graduation four years from now,” said Principal of San Marcos High School Dare Holdren.

The day wrapped with an analogy about the importance of savoring daily opportunities and having a growth mindset.

“Today is worth a dollar. There was something of value that that everyone, you know, myself, the kids, the link leaders all learn all learn today and today. It's just a dollar and we can choose to save it or we can choose to to waste it,” said Aaron Solis.

The first day of school starts Friday. Many students are happy with the year starting on a Friday instead of a Monday, so they have the weekend to recharge.

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Mina Wahab

Arab-American producer & reporter with a mission to dig deep in interviews, share authentically, shed light on the issues that matter, and provoke deep thought.

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