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Back to School: Greeley Gets Ready

Student peer leaders, orientation, greet freshmen for Class of 2016.

While schools in Chappaqua don't officially open until Wednesday morning, students for Class of 2016 got a chance to kick things off early on Tuesday.

Dozens of upper-class students were ready to greet them at the entrance, participating in the school's long-standing peer leaders orientation program, which is a chance for newcomers to learn the ropes.

"I'd say it's a fairly unique program," said Brad Schnabel, a senior who is in his second year of it. He described the mentoring program as a chance to bring new people into the community, an experience that helps create comfort.

The orientation program has been going on for more than 20 years, said Amy Valentin, a school social worker who is one of several faculty advisers for it. Each year, students heading into their junior or senior years go through an application process to fill 48 slots; two students each form 24 groups. The school typically gets more than 100 applications. 

The relationship that the freshmen have with their peers is ongoing, she explained, describing them as "their mentors" for the school year. The peers are tasked with helping newcomers with their social and emotional needs when they're adjusting, she explained.

The new students were also greeted with Greeleywear, sold by the PTA, along with a scheduled assembly. 

The freshmen aren't the only newcomers to Greeley. This year marks the first for , who comes to the Chappaqua school district from Millennium High School in New York City. Also joining him is a familiar face but in a new role, as teacher Andrew Corsilia  

Michele Glenn, a fellow assistant principal, is looking forward to the new year, in the context of getting new colleagues

"I'm very excited about it," she said.

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