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Professor Grayson Wright
Welcome to First Year Orientation!
Fri Jul 20, 2018 15:21
40.132.222.195

As they disembarked the wagons, returning students might have been slightly surprised by the figure waiting to greeting them, helping any down from the wagons who required such assistance and pointing everyone in the directions they needed to go and reminding everyone to leave their trunks in the wagons for the elves to collect. Normally, after all, Professor Xavier performed this duty. On this particular day, however, Nathan was indisposed, and so Grayson Wright had gamely volunteered to step up to cover the goals, including the ones related to separating the first years from everyone else and giving them the tour.

To those who did not know him, nothing about his appearance was the sort of thing to inspire surprise, or even much notice. He was of average height, with dark hair and eyes, and a face so devoid of distinctive features that it was quite possible the new students might primarily identify him as That Professor With The Glasses for a while, as he required the glasses just to get around the school without bumping into things and thus was not seen without them on occasions when he was conscious. In the outside world, he might have further distinguished himself by wardrobe, to a point, but at school, in his role as a teacher, he had the blandest of bland navy blue robes on, having given up attempts to wear ties about halfway through his first year on the job.

He also talked with his hands a lot, though this was less apparent than usual because he was using them to point the first years in the right direction as he separated them out of the students he recognized. Said direction was into one of the clearings in the Labyrinth Gardens, where a running fountain stood in the center and there were three tables off to one side, away from the roped-off entrances to other paths. On the first table was a number of folders, each the same forest green color as the students’ robes. These contained class schedules, school maps, and lists of the major school rules students would be expected to follow. On the next table was a variety of snacks – sandwiches, fruits and vegetables, cupcakes, cookies, and various other finger foods – and small plates to eat these on. On the third were small glasses and a selection of water, fruit juices, and fruit punch.

Once everyone seemed to be in or heading in the right direction, Professor Wright left the wagons in the elves’ capable hands and went to face down possibly the most daunting task he’d had since his first lesson: addressing the first years.

“Hello everyone – gather round, please, I don’t want to shout.” Or amplify his voice magically, as that would have been a bit much in such a small space with so few people to address. “Hello, good afternoon. I’m Professor Wright, and starting tomorrow, I’ll be your Charms teacher. Right now, though, I’m your Orientation leader, so – welcome to Sonora Academy.”

To some, it no doubt sounded like he was speaking slowly. This was because he was making an effort to speak reasonably slowly. Sonora had had quite the influx of students who did not consider English as their first language in recent years – in just the past two years, they had had Quebecois French, Russian, and German, with the Quebecois student also speaking Chinese. On the new rosters, Professor Wright had noticed one name that strongly suggested to him that its owner was related to the school’s resident Russophone, so it was fair enough to assume that at least one person in this year would also struggle with English.

“Sonora is a seven-year school where you will, if you stay with us all those years, gain a thorough education in magical theory and practice. You’ll start out, for your first year, with seven classes – Charms, Care of Magical Creatures, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Potions, Transfiguration, and flying lessons. You can drop flying lessons in your second year, and begin electives in your third year, if you want. In your fifth year, you’ll take your first set of major exams, the Critical Assessment of Talents and Skills, or CATS. After that, you may select classes to focus on, though you’ll need at least two to graduate and three if you want to pursue your education further after you leave Sonora.”

He thought that was enough terrifying exam talk for the limited attention spans of eleven-year-olds for now. “We know that you all come from different educational backgrounds now,” he said, because this was true. Some might have gone to Muggle elementary schools while others might have had specialized tutors for each subject while others might have had…more unorthodox training. Most fell somewhere on a continuum between the extremes of unschooling and specialized tutors for each subject. “Your professors all have office hours when we can give you extra help in our subjects if you need it, and Professor Skies, our Deputy Headmistress and your Transfiguration teacher, runs special sessions for anyone who needs help with reading and writing English more fluently, or with basic maths. You can see times for those in the schedules in your green folders – everyone get one of those if you don’t have one yet.

“Outside of classes, you’ll have some choice in how you spend your time. We have a variety of clubs and sports here, and you’ll see notices about meetings posted around the schools when the students who organize them are ready to start up for the year. Breakfast is from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m, lunch is from 11:00 to one, and supper is five till seven, but you can find snacks and drinks there between those times as well. Curfew is at ten p.m., and at that time, you’ll need to be inside your Houses – which are part of the main building, don’t worry. They’re four groups of rooms, and tonight, at the Welcoming Feast, you’ll be Sorted into one of them by dipping the blank badges you have now into a cauldron. If your badge turns blue, you’re an Aladren – the House that values learning and problem-solving.” He might have sounded a little proud there; he was a former Aladren. “If it turns red, you belong in Crotalus, the House for people who like to be well-prepared for everything. Yellow means you’re in Teppenpaw, the House for our diplomats – and a House which has done very well in the House Cup recently,” he added, lest Teppenpaw sound lame to them. “Finally, if your badge turns brown, that means you’re a Pecari, the House for people who always land on their feet and are always willing to take a chance. All the Houses have other traits, though, so don’t worry if you don’t think any of those things sounds exactly like you – there’s a place for everyone here at Sonora.

“Your House will have prefects, who are older students, and a Head, who is a staff member – they’ll all look after you while you’re here. Your House can earn points based on things you do – excelling in class or in sports, or showing responsibility, or somehow helping the school community and showing leadership. The House with the most points at the end of the year earns the House Cup, and sometimes other privileges – last year, Teppenpaw got to choose the music for the second half of our Midsummer Ball, and they’ll host the Cup this year.

“If no-one has any questions about all of that, you can mingle and get to know your classmates for a while and have some snacks until we begin our tour of the mansion. If you do, feel free to come see me – and welcome again to Sonora.”

OOC (Out of Character) Note:
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.)

If you enter your email address when you reply, you will be notified when someone responds to your post. This is optional but can be useful for helping you 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!

    • Hello, everyone. It is so nice to be here.Katerina Vorontsov, Tue Jul 24 17:52
      The first year class was not, from Katya’s perspective, a very large crowd. When all her family was home, her own household – her parents, their six children, the governess, the tutor, the gardener... more
      • I'm afraid I don't agree.Julius Astley, Wed Jul 25 10:57
        Julius Astley was already intensely annoyed upon his arrival to Sonora Academy. The ride in the wagons had been uncomfortable and bumpy and the fact that he'd had to share seemed only to enhance his... more
        • I'm sorry to hear that.Katerina, Wed Jul 25 12:53
          Julius. That was an interesting name. Julius had been the name of the first Caesar – a Roman, but the western Romans had built the great Eastern empire, and Russia was the heir of the Eastern empire. ... more
          • It's my father who should be sorry.Julius Astley, Wed Jul 25 13:14
            Julius blinked at Katerina, unsure whether to take her question seriously or not. Maybe he was wrong in his assumption and she wasn't a Pureblood after all. Surely she wasn't attracted to the idea to ... more
            • Whatever he did is hardly my fault.Katerina, Wed Jul 25 13:41
              The look on Julius’ face let Katya know at once that she had somehow said something wrong, but it was only when he started talking that she became really concerned that she had somehow gotten English ... more
              • I never said it was.Julius Astley, Wed Jul 25 19:55
                The situation that Julius now found himself in wasn't an uncommon one. It wasn't the first time that he'd offended someone enough to cause them to snap back at him. Though, in Julius's mind, he felt... more
                • "I won't dignify that with a response," she responded.Katerina Vorontsov, Wed Jul 25 20:58
                  She was not, Katya decided in the moments after Julius stormed off, going to give up wearing hats just yet, even if she concluded it was definitely not the custom of proper American young ladies.... more
    • Expecting the unexpected...Lyssa Fitzgerald, Sun Jul 22 20:07
      Parker had told her a lot during the summer about Sonora. Her mother had seen to that. Parker though wouldn't talk a lot in front their parents, and especially in front of JJ, about the wider world... more
      • Looking for troubleMalikhi Hill , Mon Jul 23 10:03
        Malikhi hardly listened to 'Professor Wright', being more interested in looking around. Anyway, he was talking rather slowly and sounded rather dull as well as looked it. He hoped it wouldn't all be... more
        • The trouble with trouble, is it starts out as funLyssa Fitzgerald, Mon Jul 23 12:51
          Lyssa looked over at the boy standing next to her. He sounded so proper, though that was really just his accent. She enjoyed hearing him talk. Something about him though made her think about her... more
          • Well, fun is never bad...Malikhi Hill, Mon Jul 23 16:36
            Malikhi took her hand and shook it firmly. His father had taught him to be mindful of his handshake. A limp and clammy handshake indicated weakness and if there was one thing Malikhi certainly... more
            • I'm not so sure about... you see where it becomes trouble?Lyssa Fitzgerald, Fri Jul 27 08:42
              The handshake was firm. It almost felt like the boy was trying to prove something to her with it, which Lyssa thought was entertaining. There really was no reason to do so. She returned the handshake ... more
              • Yes, I do see...Malikhi Hill, Fri Jul 27 09:15
                Malikhi held in a laugh. It was rare that anyone managed to pronounced his name correctly the first time and it amused him each time. It was like his own personal trick and he didn't even need to put ... more
      • OOC for aboveLyssa Fitzgerald, Sun Jul 22 20:13
        I was so intent on editing the above post that I forgot to write the OOC which is: The post above has words and actions for Parker. As I write Lyssa's brother Parker as well, so I am not writing for... more
    • Is it too soon to throw up?Evelyn Stones, Fri Jul 20 19:17
      Evelyn peered at the bespectacled wizard as he finished his introductory speeches, and then at her peers. She wasn't sure what to make of any of it. Her eyes fell, as they tended to, on the food and... more
      • It's not my preferred friend-making techniqueNess McLeod, Sat Jul 21 05:22
        Ness stepped off the wagon and into the gardens. Finally! It felt like it had taken forever to get here – both in terms of the wagon journey that day, which had been pretty long, but more in the... more
        • "Interesting" indeedEvelyn Stones, Sat Jul 21 12:15
          Evelyn smirked and then smiled. "Yeah," she said. "I guess so." Evelyn hadn't said it before, but she supposed it was actually pretty cool that they were finally at Sonora. It was certainly better... more
          • Curioser and curiouserNess McLeod, Sat Jul 21 12:36
            “Odd is probably a compliment too, if I say it,” Ness nodded, finding that so far, Evelyn seemed to be a likeable person. Someone who valued words like ‘odd’ and ‘interesting’ over and above ‘nice’... more
            • Re: Curioser and curiouserAnonymous, Sat Jul 21 13:23
              (OOC-- Thank you, I definitely forgot to count and panicked and ahhh!!) Evelyn was intimidated to meet someone whose family was obviously entrenched in the school's culture, but also wondered if it... more
              • Cheesy jokesNess, Sat Jul 21 22:25
                (OOC - no worries. Posts also have this sneaky habit of looking longer than they are until you click ‘submit!’) IC “Professor Wright,” Ness reminded Evelyn, when she referred to the teacher as ‘that... more
                • The best sorts of peopleEvelyn Stones, Sun Jul 22 03:31
                  Evelyn smiled. And then she kept smiling. "I think you're a pretty good person, Ness," she decided, grateful that growing up in the company of adults made it easy enough to be forthcoming about such... more
                  • We are indeed Ness McLeod, Sun Jul 22 04:36
                    “Thanks,” Ness beamed, really genuinely touched by Evelyn’s compliment. Ness felt like a good person - a believer in all things good and fair, like equality and human rights and stuff. It wasn’t... more
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