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Nathan Xavier
First Year Orientation!
Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:32
173.67.179.52

Nathan Xavier, the school’s heavy set middle aged Herbology professor, 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.

If the student was a first year, generally identifiable as someone he didn’t already know, he pointed them toward the signs that led through the Garden paths to where the Orientation was taking place. 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. He also told the staff members and prefects who had been posted at key path intersections to prevent unsupervised wanderings through the Gardens that they could 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 savory, light and filling. Cupcakes, cookies, breads of several varieties, pretzels, potato chips, cheese, crackers, fruits, vegetables and dip, small sandwiches, small meatballs, 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 finish 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 sixth time running Orientation, however, and since he'd become more comfortable talking in front of large classes over that time, and it had worked out well enough the year before, he was mostly winging it today. Though honestly, with as many times as he'd practiced in previous years, it was probably going to come out about the same as always. It would be new for these students anyway.

"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 also includes language help for anybody who doesn't speak English fluently. Also, every professor will hold 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. Unless told otherwise by the professor, uniforms should be worn to all classes. Beginner classes will also include the second year students, so you’ll be able to get to know and work with people who were in your place last year. Your core classes will be Charms, Transfiguration, Potions, Herbology, Care of Magical Creatures, and Defense against the Dark Arts. As first years only, you’ll also be expected to take Flying Lessons, to become competent flying on a broomstick.

“In third year, you will move up to intermediate classes and be allowed to pick up elective classes and independent studies if you so choose, in addition to those core classes that you had taken at the beginner level. These courses will all continue through fifth year, at the end of which you will take your first major exam called 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 score well enough on 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 will 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, a Gardening club, a Sports club, an Art club - maybe, the two girls running that graduated last year- and, I think, the Baking Club may still be around? If none of those tickle your fancy, or if the one you thought sounded good ceased to exist, 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. If we don’t have enough players for individual House teams, last year we had two combined House teams that played against each other.”

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, each of which values 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 the following year. Teppenpaw will be hosting it this year,” he added, trying not to sound too pleased and proud about that.

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.

Please remember that anything that happened in the Sandbox was just practice and did not actually occur. (You are welcome, of course, to use any background information you generated about your character during these exercises such as pets, accidental magic, etc, but they have not yet spent any time at Sonora, or interacted with any classmates.)

Also of note, entering your email address when you reply will mean you get notified when someone responds. This is optional but can be useful for helping to keep track of posts. Please do NOT check the box that says 'show email address,' as this will make it public and may result in spam.

Now, go forth, new first years of Sonora! 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 we’re glad you could join us!

    • Why am I here at all?Masha Adin, Sun Jan 21 11:11
      Masha couldn’t wait to get out of the flying wagon. It didn’t strike her as safe. Why can’t they use planes or helicopters, like everyone else? she thought as she stepped to the ground. There was a... more
      • Socializing...Leilani-Alana Akau, Thu Jan 25 19:16
        After walking away from a few other first-year students, Alana searched the crowd for someone else to introduce herself to. She wasn't by any means a social butterfly, but she had enough Pureblood... more
        • What do I do now?Masha Adin, Fri Jan 26 19:41
          Masha focused on her plate, and that was a mistake. She managed to lower her eyes long enough, when she raised them again she noticed the girl approaching. For a brief moment, she hoped that the girl ... more
          • Deep breaths. In...out...Leilani-Alana Akau, Sat Jan 27 18:08
            Alana noticed that Masha seemed very nervous, so she smiled to try to calm her nerves — both hers and Masha's. "Ooh, Kaua'i is nice! My family is from O'ahu, but I've visited all the islands at least ... more
            • Pureblood? Muggle?Masha Adin, Fri Feb 2 19:08
              Alana was nice. That was relaxing. She told her from which island she is and Masha was relieved, she didn’t insult the girl. She was glad that she wasn’t the only one concerned about different... more
    • oh neinHeinrich Hexenmeister, Sat Jan 20 10:50
      One month ago, Heinrich Hexenmeister had been living in Zauberstadt, Germany with his parents and two younger siblings. Three weeks ago, he'd been uprooted from his home country and installed, along... more
      • Oh yes! Sylvia Mordue (with a little bit of Nate), Sat Jan 20 15:39
        Sonora was going to be a success for her, Sylvia was sure. This belief was partially founded on the fact that Simon, her older brother, was doing relatively well here. Part of that was the dumb luck... more
        • Mingling...Leilani-Alana Akau, Sat Jan 20 18:40
          Just barely a month ago, Leilani-Alana Akau had been in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach in the shade whilst watching her older brother tackle her father into the sparkling water. Now, however, she was... more
          • OOC answersDH Skies, Sun Jan 21 06:09
            Hi Alana, Just to answer your questions. Yes, multiple people are allowed to join the thread so it's fine that you joined us, and yes, there is then a posting order - the same order is maintained,... more
            • AnxiousHeinrich Hexenmeister, Sun Jan 21 15:54
              The girl he had approached seemed to take many more words to answer his introduction that had been used in his Conversational English unit. He’d gotten Good Day, that was easy enough. And then he... more
              • Being soothing.Nathaniel and Sylvia Mordue, Mon Jan 22 11:10
                Oregon, Hawaii, and Germany. Nathaniel supposed Sylvia would be pleased; they were networking with the whole globe within minutes of landing at Sonora. “It’s nice to meet both of you,” he said... more
                • Trying to remain in characterLeilani-Alana Akau, Mon Jan 22 21:35
                  Sylvia Mordue of the Oregon Mordues introduced herself, and Leilani-Alana forced a smile. She knew a lot about body language and tones of voice, and she could tell that Sylvia was wondering what... more
                  • OOCDH Skies, Thu Jan 25 02:52
                    Okay. The thread will carry on between us without you. As Alana is now free, may I suggest you reply to Masha, as she's still waiting for someone to talk to?
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