By Vanessa Sovereign
Highland’s campus sprawls out across a city block’s worth of real estate. There are the quads 1, 2, and 3, the portables, the two-story math structure. Some rooms have names instead of numbers. And the landscape is crawling with 3000 students, all who seem to know where they are going. For a new student, the campus can be pretty intimidating.
Enter the Guide Dawgs to the rescue.
Counseling secretary Leslie Ortega, who manages the helpful program, believes that having Guide Dawgs helps the freshmen feel more comfortable and less afraid on their first day of high school.
The Guide Dawgs system got started because of a student named Angela Wilson who was a freshman in 2012-2013. When she first arrived at HHS, she felt lonely and wanted to be shown around school and that is when Guide Dawgs came into being.
Being a Guide Dawg also helps seniors with their scholarships. At the beginning of the year, a survey gets sent out to the freshmen who had Guide Dawgs. The guidance office picks two senior Guide Dawgs (usually a male and a female) based on the surveys and gives them each $5,000 for their college scholarship. Ortega hopes that this system is successful and actually does help the freshmen feel more welcome.
Bulldog Buddies is almost like Guide Dawgs, except the support system extends beyond the role of tour guide. Like their cousins, Buddies are there to help the freshmen find their classes and feel welcome on their first day, but they also continue to support and check in on the students throughout the year.
Senior Ruby Canchola who is a part of ASB, says of her freshman buddy, Rodrigo Gomez, “I saw him around and spoke to him because he seemed friendly.” Canchola also got to know a few things about Rodrigo; she says that he is excited to graduate. The buddies see each other every day during passing period.