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Nathan Xavier
First Year Orientation
Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:43

Nathan greeted the students as they disembarked from their wagons, helping anyone with the last big step who needed it, and telling them to leave their luggage for the elves. For the first years - or rather anyone he didn't recognize from teaching last year, though he hadn't heard of any transfers this year so presumably they were all first years - he then invited them to follow the signs through the Garden paths to Orientation. For second years, he welcomed them back and told them the library and Cascade Hall were open for use until the feast later that night, or they could go to their dorms. Prefects or staff should be in the Hall if they needed a password. Everyone else presumably knew the drill so he just welcomed them back and hoped they had a good summer.

Once the last of the wagons arrived, he followed the first years through the Gardens, collecting the "Orientation this way ->" signs along the way, as well as releasing the staff members or prefects posted at path intersections to prevent unsupervised wandering to go and enjoy the rest of their afternoons. The designated path led into a large clearing with a fountain and a banner exclaiming "Welcome to Sonora Academy!"

There were tables beneath the banner laden with snacks, both healthy and unhealthy, sweet and salty, light and filling. Cupcakes, cookies, breads of several varieties, pretzels, potato chips, cheese, crackers, fruits, vegetables and dip, small sandwiches, and more were all available. Cups of water, pumpkin juice, and fruit punch filled another table.

An additional staff member was posted within the clearing, encouraging new arrivals to get some food and collect a packet, and prevent anyone from wandering away or or swimming in the fountain or otherwise causing trouble. The packets the students were told to grab were thin green folders, the same shade as their uniform robes, that contained useful things like the first year class schedule, a map of the school, and a list of school rules they would be expected to abide by. Most of the later would be covered by the Head of House speeches later, but it never hurt to have it in writing.

He gave the students from the final wagon time to get food and mingle a bit before he cleared his throat to get their attention. It wasn't a notably large class this year, so he didn't bother with a sonorus charm to amplify his voice, but he did motion for them to gather closer so he wouldn't need to project to the far corners of the clearing or compete too much with the splashing of the fountain.

"Hello and welcome to your first year at Sonora Academy. My name is Professor Xavier and I'll be your Herbology teacher this year, and your orientation guide today. First, I'm going to tell you a bit about your new school," it wouldn't be anything novel or exciting for anyone who read the school brochures sent out with the acceptance letters, but there was no guarantee those had been read. "Then you'll have some time to meet your fellow yearmates, get more snacks, and ask questions if you have any. At five thirty, we'll start a tour of the school which will culminate at the Cascade Hall, where you will all be sorted into your Houses and then the Welcoming Feast will begin."

The first few times he'd done this, he'd had a whole speech planned out, memorized, and rehearsed in front of his cat. As this was now his fifth time running Orientation, however, and since he'd become more comfortable talking in front of large classes over that time, he was mostly winging it today.

"So, Sonora Academy of Magic is a seven year secondary school. You're expected to already be able to read, write essays, and do basic math. If you can't, or you have trouble with those things, we do have an academic support program run by Professor Skies, which includes language help for anybody who doesn't speak English fluently. Additionally, each professor holds office hours a few times a week in case you need a little extra help with their specific subject."

"As first years, you will be taking beginner level classes. The core classes Sonora offers are Charms, Transfiguration, Potions, Herbology, Care of Magical Creatures, and Defense against the Dark Arts. These beginner courses will continue into second year, and the two beginner year groups sit classes together. In third year, you will advance to intermediate classes and be permitted to pick up elective classes and independent studies if you so choose, in addition to those core classes that you will start this year. Intermediate classes last through fifth year, at the end of which you take your first major exam call the CATS - the Critical Assessment of Talents and Skills. Depending on how you do on those tests, you may move into advanced classes for your sixth and seventh years. At that point, you may drop the courses that are not of interest to you or for which you did not pass the CATS. At the end of seventh year, you will sit your last major exam, the RATS - the Ridiculously Anal Testing of Skills. You need to pass two RATS to graduate, and most colleges require a minimum of three."

He took a breath then continued, "Obviously, that's still a long way off, but that's the overview of academics here at Sonora. You should have your schedule for beginner lessons in the green folders you picked up. If you didn't get one, they are over there," he pointed to the appropriate table.

"Extracurricularly, Sonora has a number of student led clubs, including a Dueling club, an Orchestra, a Choir, an Art club, a Baking Club, possibly a Book club," they hadn't had a part in last year's Concert, so he wasn't sure if that was because they ceased to exist or because Book Club didn't lend itself well to a stage performance, "and a Sports club. If none of those tickle your fancy, you can always make your own. Depending on participation rates, we may also have House Quidditch teams competing for the Quidditch Cup. Quidditch is a wizarding sport played on broomsticks. Oh, on that note, as first years, you do have one more class beyond the core classes called Flying Lessons where you'll learn to fly on a broom."

That was the bulk of the information he was supposed to disseminate right now, so he began his wrap up, "As for living arrangements, you will be sorted into Houses, which each value certain positive personality traits: Aladrens value learning; Teppenpaws friendship; Crotalus believes in respectability and responsibility; and Pecaris are often adventurous. There are other traits each House seeks, so this is a bit of a generalization and not everyone fits neatly into one or another, so try not to put too much stock into House stereotypes. But you will be sorted into one of them, and you'll share a room with anybody else sharing your House and gender. Your Head of House will look out for you and serve as your adult guardian while you're here. Each House has three prefects who are also appointed to help you with any trouble you may encounter. And each student has the opportunity to gain House points for good behavior and exemplary class work. Likewise getting in trouble can lose your House points. The House with the most points at the end of the year wins the House Cup to display in their Commons for the following year."

He mentally ran through the important topics one more time and thought he'd hit most of them. "That's about it, the Cascade Hall serves breakfast from 6:30 to 8:30, lunch from eleven to one, and dinner from five to seven. Those times should also be on your schedules. Between those times, you can get light fare like sandwiches and snacks. It opens at six and closes at ten. Ten PM to six AM is curfew and you should be in your House areas during that time. Unless there are any questions, you are free to mingle until the tour."

OOC (Out of Character):
Welcome first years to Sonora! You can post a reply here to ask staff questions or meet your new classmates. This thread is intended for first year students 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. Have fun and glad you could join us!

    • As long as there is sugar, I'll be okay.Tatiana Vorontsova, Mon Aug 14 08:39
      Tatiana could have gotten down from the wagon herself, but she accepted the assistance the fat man (some kind of servant, she assumed) offered because she knew that was what Mama would want her to... more
      • Sugar is good.Gary Harper, Thu Aug 17 16:52
        Gary was grinning like a fool when the flying wagons landed on the school grounds. That ride was awesome! He'd never really though about what kind of magical transportation wizards would use.... more
        • I'm glad you agree.Tatiana, Thu Aug 17 22:44
          Tatiana tried to work out if this one had a patronymic or not. She finally decided it didn’t much matter. They were both children, which meant it was acceptable for them to call each other ‘Tatiana’... more
          • Rumors abound about the perils of excess thoughGary Harper, Sat Aug 19 07:23
            Tatiana's response gave Gary pause for a moment, then he remembered the part of the professor's speech about language assistance for those not fluent in English. Maybe Tatiana wasn't a native English ... more
            • Eh, you only live once.Tatiana, Sat Aug 19 17:23
              The second iteration of Gary’s question made more sense. Tatiana filed away this new meaning of parts - shorthand for ‘parts of the country’. She nodded her understanding. “I come from Alaska,” said... more
    • Freedom?Jehan Callahan, Fri Aug 11 16:02
      Jehan was small for his age, with faraway eyes and hair that was cut a little too short for its natural curliness to really show. Of course, his curls were nowhere near as wild as his brother’s. He... more
      • From older brothers Dorian Montoir, Fri Aug 11 23:50
        Dorian stepped off the wagon and tried to tell himself that he did not feel... That word for when things were too much. He was sure there was such a word, a single word or maybe two word combination... more
        • Well, mine isn't too badJehan, Sun Aug 13 16:14
          Jehan was a little thrown off by Dorian’s assumption, not really having considered that as a possible response. Still, there was logic to the other boy’s question. It was a big world, and who knew... more
          • Lucky youDorian, Wed Aug 16 22:20
            "Oh, I am sorry for misunderstanding," Dorian apologised. "My English is terrible," this was a conclusion he had been forced to reach in the past ten minutes. Prior to disembarking the wagon, he... more
            • Lucky you, it sounds like!Jehan, Sun Aug 20 07:01
              “No, I quite like your English,” reassured Jehan, not wanting Dorian to think badly of his language abilities. After all, people often said that Jehan didn’t always make much sense (even if Jehan... more
              • I'm starting to feel that wayDorian, Mon Aug 21 05:35
                Jehan liked his English. Dorian was not quite sure whether this was just a way of saying that his English was fine, or whether it meant something else -that there was something special and different... more
                • Yes, this is all going very well!Jehan, Wed Aug 23 09:55
                  Jehan beamed at Dorian as the other boy said that he made sense, and that he had good thoughts. No one had ever said that to Jehan before. His flights of fancy were seen as, at best, amusing, if not... more
                  • Then let's keep goingDorian, Fri Sep 15 00:48
                    "Yes, that will be very good! And I can also read some more harder English with you to help," Dorian nodded, glad that Jehan had brought up the idea of shared language study so that he didn't have... more
    • I have arrived.Jasmine Delachene, Fri Aug 11 12:49
      Jasmine looked out the back of the covered wagon, watching the ground pass beneath her. This was higher than her horses usually flew, but the height didn't bother her. What bothered her was that she... more
      • So much open space!Parker Fitzgerald, Fri Aug 11 15:44
        Parker Fitzgerald got off the wagon with the other students around him. He heard someone talk about elves, and remembered the buying of school supplies and the new creatures Sullivan had introduced... more
        • Eh, I've seen moreJasmine Delachene, Fri Aug 11 21:06
          The boy didn't recognize her family branch, but judging by the way he then stepped on his food and that she didn't recognize his surname, that was not indicative of any failing on her family's fame... more
          • A Subject I know!Parker Fitzgerald, Sat Aug 12 16:49
            The girl was talking about California bordering Arizona, and Parker imagined his grandfathers house and trips to the Salton Sea. He was thinking about this that he almost missed her comment about... more
            • A subject I love!Jasmine Delachene, Sat Aug 12 19:42
              Jasmine nodded as Parker stated he expected he'd be a Pecari. "My father loved it there," she encouraged. Her mother had mixed feelings; Mom had loved having a room to herself, and being with Dad,... more
              • Invisible horses?Parker Fitzgerald, Tue Aug 15 19:51
                Parker was glad to hear that her father liked it. But the absence of her mother gave him pause. Did he mishear about both her parents being Pecari? Or maybe it was a male heavy house. Parker could... more
                • Yes, of course, an invisible horse!Jasmine, Sat Aug 19 17:16
                  Jasmine smiled fondly in remembrance, "Well, the first time, I was probably only three or four, so Mom rode behind me to make sure I didn't fall off. Honestly, I don't remember not riding Flossie, so ... more
                  • Everyone looks like an idiotParker Fitzgerald, Tue Aug 22 12:07
                    Parker was a bit spell bound. Stories of horses flying, and this seemed so mundane to the Jasmine. He paused when she mentioned not knowing how to ride a bike. He had never thought that the people... more
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