Soar into Skyline Takes Flight

Inside the annual freshman inauguration event


Students enjoy Soar into Skyline. Credit: Kathryn Plotner

On Thursday, May 4th, Skyline welcomed three hundred of its incoming freshmen to Soar into Skyline, a tradition meant to acclimate them to their new school. Sixty student guides led them on tours around the school, forty clubs were represented by thrice that many students, with everything culminating a hype/bonding session in the auditorium led by a few students and teachers. But these numbers don’t convey the mood of the event. 

In the gymnasium, dozens of teens mill about. Aughties classics like Taylor Swift’s 2008 “You Belong With Me” or Vanessa Carlton’s 2002 “A Thousand Miles” blare over the speakers. Clubs display simple, handmade posters, with an earnest charm. Some have candy, and the really fancy ones have pamphlets or pins or products. This is Club Fair.

“[Presenting at Club Fair] is just one of my obligations on [Theatre’s Student Board], but I’m always very happy to do so,” said Gianna Falcicchio-Wall (‘24). “I’m very passionate about getting people to join, and I’m always really enthusiastic about welcoming people to our awesome community.”

“I kind of just heard about it, and I’m like, let’s get a spot,” said Jack DeCapua (‘25), representing Cubing Club. “It seems like an easy way to get some members, because we struggled to get members … just from the school.”

“I want to make sure people, you know, queer kids and kids who need a space space [know about us],” said Jenna Lock-Arnold, ‘23, vice president of the Gender, Sexuality, and Romanticality Alliance (GSRA). “It would have been really helpful for me because I didn’t really find GSRA until after I found myself.”

“Our presence at these events is really important because it tells students coming in that we have an accepting space,” said Liam McGlohon (‘23), president of the GSRA. “It’s why it’s so important for us specifically to be at every event, even when not every other club is, because it’s about exposure. We want them to know that they’re safe.”

[O]ne of the main things is for incoming 9th-grade students to feel connected,” said Terri Patterson, ninth grade Dean and one of the three event planners. “[We’re] very intentional with building relationships with the freshmen class and [getting] them connected to our school community.”

“[W]hen I came to Soar into Skyline last year … it was a little overwhelming at first.” said Patrick Shiffler (‘26), representing Choir, one of the few classes in attendance. “I really didn’t process or realize how big Skyline was until I got here, so it was pretty nice to have a tour, and I felt like that made me feel more prepared for coming in.”

“I mean, I could have gone in without [Soar into Skyline],” said Ethan Schultz (‘26), representing Ethics Bowl. “But I guess it sort of helped me feel more [comfortable] in the building.”

Even during Covid years we still tried to do aspects of it virtually,” said teacher Anne Bezeau, a committee member. “Soar into Skyline has probably been [running] at least 10 years.” However, many current high schoolers weren’t aware of the event in their own time as freshman.

“Some of my biggest worries before starting as a freshman [were] how I would make friends and find all my classes.” said Jessica Iekel-Johnson (‘24). “I would have loved being able to [attend Soar into Skyline.]”

“During my 8th grade, I didn’t get to go to Soar into Skyline,” lamented Naya Loftus (‘24). “I didn’t even get to visit the school until 10th grade, all due to the pandemic.”

My own class, ‘25, had a reduced-scale version, though many people weren’t aware of it. “[Eighth grade] was my virtual year,” said Jack DeCapua, (‘25), representing Cubing Club. “I think maybe [I wish I’d been able to attend] because I kind of came into Skyline with very little idea of what clubs were actually available.”

Despite not getting to attend as freshmen, Iekel-Johnson and Loftus, among others, participated on the high schooler side. 

Loftus participated in Soar Into Skyline’s auditorium section. “I basically stood on stage while Mr. Bertsos told terrible jokes. My job was to give out prizes to the winners of the kahoot about Skyline’s history. … I’m so happy to [have had] the opportunity to make this experience good for the incoming freshman, and to make them all excited to come to Skyline next year.”

Iekel-Johnson became a student guide: I thought it would be fun to give a tour and get to share knowledge I’ve learned over the past two years of being in the building.”

“One of our main goals is to build community,” said Patterson, “and this is one of those ways that we start the process.”