Orientation goes virtual

While students and parents may not have been able to visit campus in person this year, they got a bird’s eye view of the school through a virtual, aerial campus tour filmed by drone and piloted by Diamond Bar High School junior Alan Zhang. This is just one of the methods DBHS employed to bring to life the annual Eighth Grade Parent Presentation and Open House Showcase, presented virtually on Feb. 10.

The event featured the numerous academic, athletic, musical and artistic programs at DBHS. With multiple sports groups, choir, drumline and dance returning on campus in cohorts, plans were made to include live performances and activities. However, incoming freshmen were instead directed to a website containing pre-recorded video presentations due to constraints set by the pandemic.

Several other aspects of the event were tweaked due to similar issues. For instance, in previous years, visiting eight graders participated in a campus tour and engaged in competitive activities. In the virtual format, no live activities took place and the campus tour was done by video.

The eight grade open house will be followed by a similar event in early May, the Freshman Orientation, plans for which still include several live video components.

“USB is still discussing and planning, but…there will be a pre-recorded presentation featuring our various programs and groups on campus,” USB Activities Director Janna Van Horn said via email.

Despite expected difficulties with social distancing during showcases, no DBHS organizations backed out of the event.

“We will work with our performing groups to feature them,” Van Horn said. “Some groups are starting cohorts as we speak, so we hope to be able to work with program directors to show off the amazing programs that we have on our campus.”

USB has also worked to include special events for the occasion to replace traditional ones done in-person.

“I think the element that we will miss the most is the campus tours. We [will] collaborate to get footage with a drone and 360 camera to provide a comprehensive virtual tour,” Van Horn said.

USB also hopes to host in-person campus tours to incoming freshmen prior to campus return in the future.

“I think many 8th graders are excited and…nervous to attend high school,” Van Horn said. “I’m hopeful that we will provide them a fun and engaging presentation that will make them feel welcomed to our Brahma Family!”

A concern during this time is a relative lack of engagement due to the event being held virtually.

“We hope to work with middle schools to hopefully use class time to promote the orientation,” Van Horn said. “We are hopeful that we can provide a positive, fun and informative experience for our incoming freshmen.”