MSD hosts annual curriculum night for incoming freshmen

Anna Horowitz, News Editor

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School administration and guidance department hosted their annual curriculum night for eighth graders and their parents on Thursday, Feb. 9, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The event took place across campus, with the majority of the itinerary in the auditorium, gym and mini gym. The eighth graders attended from MSD’s two local feeder middle schools: Westglades Middle School and Coral Springs Middle School.

Each year, attendees have the opportunity to discover activities within the school and ask questions about core classes and extracurriculars. It provides families with insight about the school and what their students will be experiencing as freshmen.

“There’s a lot of excitement in the air. There’s a lot of good people around and kids learning about MSD and getting familiar with the school,” father Adam Jay said. “I really just came to understand more about some offerings and to understand a little bit more about my daughter going into ninth grade. It’s all very exciting.”

Assistant Principal Daniel Lechtman organized the event. Elective teachers and club advisers coordinated their booths located in the cafeteria and prepared to talk one-on-one with students attending curriculum night.

Before the main presentation, Gifted Coordinator Holly Van Tassel-Schuster led a 30-minute meeting in the media center to discuss the school’s gifted program.

The Student Government Association greeted the guests and directed everyone to the auditorium as they began to arrive around 5:30 p.m. At 6:00 p.m., administration presented a video showcasing classes and activities. Immediately following, Principal Michelle Kefford took to the stage to welcome the audience and introduce JROTC students, who performed the presentation of colors.

Lechtman began the main presentation afterwards, giving basic information to the new students. Athletic director Albert Guzzo spoke about athletics. SGA officers performed some school spirit activities throughout the meeting, and once it was over, students and parents were permitted to stay in the courtyard to listen to the band set up or go to the mini gym and cafeteria.

In the mini gym, department heads for core classes stood at tables, talking to parents about the different courses, allowing parents to learn more about classes offered in each department.

Meanwhile, the PTSO sold merchandise such as hoodies and pajama pants in the cafeteria and elective teachers and club advisers manned their booths. Some electives did more than just have conversations to try to recruit students: JROTC held a pull-up challenge and culinary handed out free cookies.

Many electives stuck with a simpler approach, opting to go up to families and pitch their programs. DECA and National Academy of Finance officers stood by their display, passing out flyers and explaining the club. Three of the four advisers were also present, giving incoming students a chance to meet their possible teachers.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people and the kids seemed interested, sometimes the parents more so than the kids,” Academy of Finance and DECA teacher Lisa Webster said.

Throughout the last hour, eighth graders had the opportunity to engage with school club members and ask questions about their courses. While many were overwhelmed by the number of choices, some were able to find interests for the upcoming year.

“I think tonight prepared me just for how overwhelming high school really is,” Coral Springs Middle School eighth grader Ben Goldman said. “I really have to take it all in.”

This story was originally published in the March 2023 Eagle Eye print edition.