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Professor Nathan Xavier
New Student Orientation
Fri Feb 24, 2017 09:55

A new year was beginning and with it came the wagon loads of students, arriving from all over the country and even the world. Nathan Xavier stood on the open lawn between the school building and the main entrance to the Labyrinth Gardens, greeting the kids disembarking from each wagon as it arrived in the early afternoon.

"Hello, welcome back, good to see you again, no leave your luggage, welcome to Sonora, hello, good summer I hope, welcome back, welcome to Sonora," he greeted each student individually but quickly, one greeting running into the next and barely pausing to breath. Once the wagon was empty, he addressed the group, "Returning students, there's snacks and sandwiches in the Cascade Hall or you can head out to your dorms or the library." For all but the second years, it was the same routine as last year and some hadn't bothered waiting around to hear it again. Neither had he even tried to stop them. There were prefects and staff about to see nobody got into trouble, but the returning students were largely free to settle in and entertain themselves until the Welcoming Feast began at dinner time.

"New students," he addressed the remainder, opting against calling them First Years this time because there were transfer students among them this year, "You'll be having an orientation in the Gardens, go ahead and follow the signs to the mixer area. Enjoy the food, grab a introductory folder, meet your fellow students." There were staff members within the gardens as well, making sure nobody got lost along the way and again to prevent anyone from causing trouble.

Once all the wagons had arrived, he walked with the last group of new arrivals to the garden clearing where tables of food were set up, offering both healthy and unhealthy alternatives to consume after their flights in the enchanted covered wagons that carried them here. Magic ensured the safety of all on board and helped the wagon cross the miles very quickly, but the benches to sit on were wood and the cushions meant to soften the seats during turbulence were . . . less than entirely effective from what he had overheard over the years.

He gave the last batch some time to collect plates and folders. The latter mostly consisted of a map of the school and a copy of their class schedules (he hoped the transfers found the folders labeled for intermediates without too much trouble and the first years had all taken theirs from the larger stack of folders labeled for beginners). There was a more general schedule as well, with the hours when the dining hall served food and the library was open and when curfew was in effect and so forth. Another page invited anyone who was having language, writing, or study habit difficulties to contact Professor Skies and attend her academic help sessions in the Transfiguration classroom; the days and times that met were also provided. He had additionally included a page with the school's code of conduct on it, but he didn't really expect anyone would bother reading past the title of that one.

He gave them a little more time to chat, eat, and look through their materials, then he cleared his throat and spoke up.

"Hello, may I have your attention please?" He waited for most of the conversations to pause, repeating his entreaty as necessary until he had the attention of the majority of the new students. "Thank you, and I would like to extend a warm welcome to each of you to Sonora Academy. I'm just going to go over a few things about your new school here, then you may continue getting to know each other for a little while. At four-thirty, we'll start a tour of the school and its grounds to get you familiar with where everything is, then that will conclude in our dining room, the Cascade Hall, where you will each then be Sorted into one of our four Houses. At that point, you may join your Housemates and enjoy the Welcoming Feast with the rest of the school."

He paused a moment to let them process the day's schedule of events then launched into his Orientation Spiel. He would repeat some of it, add to it, and expand upon some of the points during the tour, but this was the condensed version of Things You Need To Know About Sonora that were important to introduce first.

"Let me start by introducing myself. I am Professor Xavier, the Herbology teacher and a Head of House in the school." He opted not to specify which one so as not to show bias. He also did not mention that he was still serving in the groundskeeper position until a new one was found because he was in the process of phasing out of that job.

"As most of you should know, Sonora is a magic school for witches and wizards between the ages of eleven and eighteen, covering seven years of class material. Sonora is a small school, so we only have three levels of classes: Beginner classes are for first and second years, Intermediate classes are for third, fourth, and fifth years, and Advanced classes are for sixth and seventh year students. This will allow to meet and work with students in your neighboring year groups and learn from their experiences as well as your own."

"We have seven core subjects that all students are required to take through fifth year. These are Potions, Charms, Transfiguration, Care of Magical Creatures, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Herbology. Starting in third year when you begin Intermediate lessons, you may additionally pick up one of our electives. Sonora currently offers Muggle Studies, Astronomy, and Divination as electives. If you wish to learn a different subject that the school does not offer, please speak to your Head of House about our Independent Study program. After fifth year, you may drop whichever classes you like so long as you keep at least two, though it is strongly recommended to take a minimum of three. Two passing RATS grades are required for graduation. RATS are the standardized tests everyone takes at the end of seventh year. CATS are the standardized tests at the end of fifth year and passing those is required to continue into Advanced classes. Any questions so far on academics here?"

Once he fielded all relevant questions, he continued, "Extracurricularly, Sonora has a wealth of student run clubs for you to join. And if none of them suit your interests, you can create your own, too! Some examples from last year include an Art Club, Book Club, Spirit Club, an Orchestra, Fashion Club, a Fund Raising Club for charities, and more. Each House also has its own Quidditch team, who compete against each other, if you are interested in that. Crotalus is the current reigning champions."

"Sonora has four Houses, which are decided magically based on your personality and values, so hopefully you should find yourself living with people you can find common ground with. Your Head of House and prefects are there to help you with any trouble you are having, whether that be academic and you need help finding a tutor, or you just need to talk to someone about being homesick, or to help resolve conflicts between you and someone else in the House, or outside of it for that matter. Those in the same year group, House, and gender will all share a room together. You can earn House Points for exceptional classwork, good behavior, and participation in school activities. Likewise, misbehavior loses points. The House with the most points at the end of the year gets a special treat and the honor of hosting the House Cup in their commons the next year. Any questions on Houses, clubs, or Quidditch?" The school brochures went over the qualities of the four Houses in pretty good detail, and most students seemed to have already put a lot of thought into which one they might find themselves sorted into prior to arrival, so he didn't feel the need to rehash that part unless asked.

"Okay," he concluded once all of those questions had been answered, "You may now spend some time getting to know each other until it is time to leave on the tour."

OOC (Out of Character):
Welcome new students to Sonora! You can post a reply here (click that 'Post Reply' button underneath this text) to meet your new classmates or ask staff questions. This thread is intended for first year students and transfers to have a chance to try out posting and get acclimated to the site before we throw you into the big Opening Feast, which is open to the entire school population and can be a bit overwhelming. So post, enjoy, have fun! Everyone here is happy to help out, so if you've got a question, put it on the OOC board or try to catch somebody in the Chatzy and we'll try to get you an answer as quick as we can.

    • Setting up shopCleo James, Mon Feb 27 06:36
      Cleo took a deep breath and decided that her lip was definitely not trembling. She had cried when she’d had to say goodbye to her daddy and had sat sniffling on the wagon until an older student had... more
    • Alone in a crowded roomEden Manger, Sat Feb 25 15:20
      Eden Manger kept her head down as she stepped off the wagon. She had kept her head down the whole ride here, despite every bump in the ride, every chat she overheard. Certainly no one knew anything... more
      • Well, that doesn't sound like much fun. Ryder Knight, Sun Feb 26 23:15
        Ryder wasn’t sure what to expect on his journey to Sonora, but he certainly had not imagined the ride to be so bumpy. As he stepped off the wagon, he rubbed his back by his tailbone and stretched his ... more
        • Can confirm, it's notEden, Wed Mar 1 01:21
          Drat. The food table route had not saved her from conversation, as a boy walked right up beside her and started talking. He seemed friendly enough, but she was just not in the mood for it. Still,... more
          • One is the loneliest number. Ryder, Sun Mar 5 23:53
            Ryder smiled as the girl quietly told him her name. Eden was an interesting name. It reminded him of the Biblical story of Adam and Eve. Not that he was particularly religious or anything. Ryder was... more
    • A genuinely catastrophic ideaJen White, Fri Feb 24 14:56
      No wonder they'd been abandoned in the desert, Jen thought as she trouped into the designated clearing along with the other new students; a hidden boarding school for teenagers and pre-teens learning ... more
      • That's my summoning call!Brett Newell, Sat Feb 25 18:37
        “Bye, Flo! Bye, Makenzie! Bye, Dustin,” Brett said in decreasing order of importance as he separated from his family members at the end of their wagon ride. His sister had told him to expect a bumpy... more
        • Do you have a banishing call?Jen, Sun Feb 26 13:59
          The stranger was smiling, and he had brown curls that were flopping about in a manner way more irritating than Jen’s hair. He introduced himself as Brett, so she guessed he wasn't a stranger anymore. ... more
          • Well, they haven't found one yet!Brett, Wed Mar 1 01:33
            Brett contemplated Jen’s words for a brief moment. Huh. “I’ve never been to a school before at all,” he replied curiously. “I’ve just had, like, tutors and stuff at home.” Then it clicked. She said... more
            • More's the PityJen, Fri Mar 3 14:33
              Never been to a school before? Jen had heard of homeschooling but had never met anyone who had tried it. That was different. She sort of wanted to know more, but she didn’t like people to think she... more
    • Like draws to like (tag a transfer)Zevalyn Ives, Fri Feb 24 11:43
      Zevalyn had initially been able to equate waiting for the 'wagon' to pick her up in Pheonix to waiting for her school bus. This illusion was shattered when she actually saw it. She had figured the... more
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