On August 23, 650 freshmen and transfer students flocked to Leesville Road High School for the annual Pride Launch. Pride Launch provides students new to Leesville opportunities to visit representatives from different clubs, locate their classrooms, talk to their teachers, and learn and perform school cheers.
Ms. Rizzuto, a Leesville staff member, coordinates Pride Launch. She has led the last three events.
“The goal [of Pride Launch] is to help the incoming freshmen class feel comfortable in moving around the school without the stress of having all the upperclassmen here, as well as to give them some time to explore and learn about the Leesville way of life,” said Rizzuto.
Overall, Pride Launch met Rizzuto’s expectations. Freshmen benefitted from the event and even enjoyed it.
“[Pride Launch] helped me find my bearings, at least I knew where to go, and I had…some vague idea of who my teachers were,” said Maya Dominguez-Leach, a freshman at Leesville who attended Pride Launch.
Students such as Alexis Baudreau, a Leesville freshman, enjoyed the club fair in the Multipurpose Room, where representatives from various student-led organizations at Leesville attempted to recruit freshmen to join their groups.
“I liked looking at the different clubs,” said Baudreau.
Despite favorable reviews, students still harbored criticisms of Pride Launch.
“The cheers were kind of confusing and very disorienting, especially when we were just getting a hang of, ‘Wait, we’re in high school now,’” said Baudreau.
Although the Leesville Liaisons led groups of students on tours during Pride Launch, the tours were not individualized and often overwhelmed the new students.
“[Pride Launch] didn’t do a very good job of, like, helping me find the best way to get to my classes,” said Dominguez-Leach.
Rizzuto admits that not everything happened according to plan during Pride Launch. When announcements called for students to rotate between stations—the cafeteria, the main gym, the multipurpose room, and the media center — students talked over the announcements and later did not know where their groups were supposed to go next.
Additionally, students frequently lost their ways while they moved between stations.
Despite minor hiccups during this year’s event, Rizzuto remains optimistic about future Pride Launches.
“We’ve already problem-solved to figure out how to make that better for next year,” said Rizzuto.