|Superintendent Gene Kirchner and Highlands Principal Brian Robinson welcome the symbolic class of 2020 to Highlands High School. FTM file.|
They got a school tour, were assigned upperclassmen mentors, and listened to the usual welcome speeches from teachers and principals.
But the Highlands Class of 2020 is symbolic, according to Superintendent Gene Kirchner.
"The Class of 2020 is very important in what they represent as a class," said Kirchner. "When this group entered kindergarten, the school district made an investment in the futures of all students in this community. Vision 2020. By the time the class of 2020 graduates, we will have transformed the learning experience in Fort Thomas. Students will now receive a world class education, equipped with 21st century skills that will prepare student for their future, not our past."
The Class of 2020 entered the Fort Thomas elementary campuses as kindergartners in 2007. In 2014 when the group was finishing their first year of middle school, the class was featured in the school-issued Traditions magazine.
|Pictures were taken of the class of 2020 as they entered kindergarten in 2007 and then in 2014 as they entered middle school. It was featured in the winter issue of Traditions magazine. Provided.|
"I can see four years where you'll be in this exact same room," said Highlands Principal Brian Robinson, as he addressed the students. "You'll have had a fantastic education and will be benefitting from the experiences that you've had, but that's not today. Today is the start of something very special."
Robinson said that Vision 2020 has multiple meanings to him.
"When you flip it around, you can read it as 2020 Vision. Or in other words, to see clearly. These upperclassmen will help these incoming freshmen see what it is they are going to need to experience here at Highlands High School. They will give them that vision of how to be fully involved. How to come to 'the nest' and how to do it the 'bluebird way,'" he said.
Kirchner also gave the group some inspiring words.
"The community, with the direction of the school board, has made good on that commitment to you of Vision 2020. There is a responsibility that comes with that, because you are the class of 2020. You are the symbol for that commitment. And so what I ask you to do is this: make the very most of that opportunity. We have provided you with a world-class setting. This is a $40 million high school. The very best of technology. All of us are blessed to be here in this place. When you think of all the places in this world you could be, you're right here. Shine these next four years. Lead by example. Show the rest of the students in the district that the class of 2020 is truly focused on the future and will go out and do great things in the world."
Kirchner, who was hired in 2012, has helped carry the vision originally created by past administrations.
"It's great to be rich in tradition, and we are in Fort Thomas, but if that's all we were, we wouldn't be doing these kids justice. We also have to focused on the future," he said.
"We're excited that the community is so interested in this class. The whole concept that the media is here, the Board of Education is here, administrators are here. It's another symbol of how entwined this community is and it's everything that makes Highlands what Highlands is," said Robinson.
With that, the class of 2020 put on their new Highlands tee-shirt over their multi-colored "team shirt": a white shirt with a big, blue "H." They are now one class. One class that will represent a decade-long vision and investment from the community at large.
|School board members John Weyer, Lisa Duckworth and Karen Allen attended the orientation. FTM file.|
|The Class after changing into their "one-color" Highlands shirts.|
|Posing again. FTM file.|