The Unite Program Helps Freshmen Transition into High School


Photo by @hhsunite on Instagram

The Unite mentors on orientation day in August

The Unite program started in 2006 to give incoming freshmen the ability to build relationships with upperclassmen to ease their transition into high school.

Photo of Unite Advisor, Ms. Murphy
Photo by Maya Vumbaca
“I help and advise Unite with Mr. Zanini, but it’s really what the students want to do and we just try and facilitate that,” Mrs. Murphy said.

“I think the idea behind Unite was that there’s all these amazing student leaders in our school, and they would be great role models for the freshmen since the eighth to ninth grade transition can be really challenging socially and academically,” Unite advisor Mrs. Murphy said.

Unite mentors meet with their freshmen for an advisory period twice a month. A typical advisory varies from group to group and from month to month.

“A typical advisory for me usually starts with an icebreaker or game to get the freshmen excited and interested about the advisory for that day,” Unite mentor Alyssa Mcintire said.

“Our typical advisory is us talking to the freshman and telling them about what events are going on around the school. If they have any questions, we try to answer them and give them advice,” Unite mentor Ruqayah Al-Ashabi said.

“I think a typical advisory is just a bunch of people hanging out in a comfortable environment all together, and it’s a safe break from all the stresses of school,” Unite mentor Hannah Ianelli said.

Unite mentors meet for bi-weekly meetings with their advisors to prepare for the responsibilities they have throughout the year.

“Unite is a really big time commitment from the students that are involved, but we think it’s worth it because of the impact they can have with their 9th graders,” Mrs. Murphy said.

Unite mentor Kinsley Rolph stated that the Unite mentors help the freshmen get comfortable with their schedules and the layout of the high school during step up day in the beginning of summer and orientation at the end of summer.

Unite mentors are always upperclassmen and are chosen towards the end of their sophomore year to participate in the Unite program during their last two years of high school.

Photo of a freshmen advisory
Photo by @hhsunite on Instagram
One group of freshmen participating in the pumpkin decorating competition during advisory.

“The recruitment is a really important part of it in terms of making sure we have a diverse group of students for our freshmen in many different ways,” Mrs. Murphy said.

Every year, there are different events for the freshmen advisories. This year, they had a competition that incorporating a fall theme.

“My favorite memory with my Unite mentors was the pumpkin decorating competition. It was really fun to work with my other classmates and the upperclassmen,” freshman Paige Marshall said.

“I loved watching all of the freshmen really get into doing the pumpkin decorating competition because my group hasn’t been participating as much this year… This was the first time I saw them really engage in an activity, and they were very excited. My advisory won which made it even better,” Rolph said.