Students had filed into their respective class seats, each of them a plush, velvet red cushioned chair. The chairs were actually theater chairs, so it was a perfect fit for the auditorium; they even had cupholders. There was chatter among the students as they patiently awaited Orientation to start. Heads turned to the stage as mic feedback interrupted the noise of the auditorium. Students quieted down rather quickly as a slender Korean-American woman in low heels and a pants-suit approached a wooden podium at the center of the stage. She stood silently for a moment and placed her mic into a holster at the podium. She walked over to the leftmost side of the auditorium, where juniors and seniors were lined up. She stuck out a fist toward them. Then, she began to shout.
"Horsemen alive!?" she screamed at them
"Horsemen to ride!" replied the upperclassmen.
"Horsemen of pride!?" she bellowed.
"Horsemen in stride!" they called back.
"PRIDE!" cried out the upperclassmen. They cheered and gave the dean a round of applause.
She returned to the podium and picked up her mic with excitement. "Good morning Greater Orleans High," she said with a bright smile. "Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. Football season is around the corner, and I don't know about our freshmen but I'm super excited." This was Dean Coalesce. She probably had more pride in Greater Orleans High than anyone else. She carried herself with great confidence. Her shoulders were held back, she stood up perfectly straight, and her presence could be felt wherever she went. Her voice carried a weight that was heavy but welcome. "For those of you who don't know me, I am Jasmine Coalesce, your Dean here at Greater Orleans High. Sophomores, upperclassmen, and returning students welcome back. Freshmen, new transfers, and guests welcome to Greater Orleans High. You are now apart of Horsemen County. Remember that well and carry it with pride."
Jasmine was a high school and college athlete who fell in love with teaching. She was a cheerleader and a track star, but her heart lied with the young minds before her. Her navy-blue pants-suit really didn't show off her figure, but it fit her well. Her hair was neatly tied back into a bun on the top of her head. Her sharp silver eyes and rose colored lipstick across her blemishless face made some envious. Now the Dean of the poopular and incredibly successful Greater Orleans High, she was on top of the world. "While we are a prideful school in our sports teams thanks to our absolutely superb coaches for basketball, football, and volleyball -- I see you, Coach Overton! -- our athletics are just one of the many great things about our school. We are among the top three high schools in the state in terms of academics. More than ninety-seven percent of our students graduate with degrees and more than eighty percent of those graduating students go on to higher education. And that's no easy task.
Our teachers are also top of the line. Your education is second to none when it comes to them. They're Horsemen just like you. And Horsemen march together. Whether it's onto the football field or onto the battlefield of academics, we leave no one behind. You are the future of this great country, and we will strengthen your mind and bodies so that you too can go on to create the great changes you want to see. So. Students, staff, friends, and visitors. Welcome to a new school year. It is my sincere hope that you will see great success and go on to be the best damn Horsemen -- and students -- that we know you can be."
A husky man with broad shoulders stood just off to Dean Coalesce's left behind the curtain. "In just a moment, Assistant Dean Deckard Edridge will go over some important announcements before class schedules are handed out. Let's have a great school year."
With a round of applause, Ms. Coalesce left the stage and Assistant Dean Deckard Edgridge took her place. He was a slightly husky man wearing a black suit that was just slightly too tight on him around his waist. He was balding and he wore horn-rimmed glasses which made his face sort of pop out. He was a Caucasian male in his late mid-fifties. "Thank you, Ms. Coalesce. First, and foremost, go Horsemen!" he cheered. The applause was more stagnant this time. "On the subject of sports, we have finally decided to adopt a baseball coach and will be opening the program this coming spring. By way of LSU, our new Coach will be Coach Jules Hammerson. I hope you'll welcome him with open arms. Now, onto non-sports related business.
This year's senior prom and homecoming will be held in mid-October. A bit earlier than usual, but the student council settled on this decision last spring and it sounds like they were pretty adamant about it. For additional questions, please see your class representatives. For those of you who don't know your class representative, they will be listed on your class schedule.
Uhh, let's see here... oh. Parking for juniors and seniors. The parking lot for juniors and seniors is being paved over once more due to some complaints last spring and should be completed just before September begins. A There's also a new class grouping program this year. Seniors and juniors will be spending more time together in joint classes. If this proves to be a success, we'll see it used with sophomores and freshmen next year. Furthermore..."
What's Going On?
"Ma'am. Excuse me. Ma'am!" said a security officer to Piper. Judging by her pack and her age, she was headed to the auditorium. "Are you late? Orientation will be ending soon. I'll escort you to the auditorium so you don't miss your schedule. Please follow me."
"And that appears to be all for this morning. Students, you can pick up your class schedules as you leave the auditorium. Juniors and seniors, please exit out of the eastern exit where you can get your schedules. Freshmen and sophomores please use the western exit," finished Assistant Dean Edridge.
At either exit were two students awaiting sophomores and freshmen or juniors and seniors. Those four students were actually members of the student council who had been tasked with gathering student schedules.
"Please form a single file line! Thank you!" one of the student council members called out.
"Lumping juniors and seniors together this year? No thanks..." mumbled one dissatisfied student to her female companion.
"Could be fun. Maybe you'll finally hook up with a senior since most of the guys in our class are hideous," replied her snarky friend. "The basketball team is pretty hot."
"Nah, I'd rather take my chances with a football jock. Their bigger jerks but I bet they're big--"
"NEXT!" yelled one of the student council members who unfortunately overheard the conversation.
"If I see Garrett I'm gonna break his other wrist," spat Ivan "the Terrible" Louis. He was a senior student and a member of the basketball team. "Cost me my championship."
"Lighten up, stretch. You'll get your chance this year," responded a student who was about six inches shorter than Ivan.
"Oh, I know. Since Garrett won't be here to screw us."
The students had finally received their schedules, and class grouping had already begun. Paul glanced down his schedule to see he was lined up for American History, Algebra II, Physics, and Computer Science for the fall semester. He didn't flinch but he wasn't exactly excited about this class schedule. Algebra II was probably the worst of the four. American History was up first and it was a joint class with seniors for an hour and a half. His teacher this year was Mr. Morrison, a teacher he was familiar with. On the back of his schedule, the class chart of students for his 9:30 American History class showed up.
He searched the list of students anxiously for any familiar names. No luck. Instead, he came across one or two he thought he recognized. "Jason Garrett and Tyler Beckett. I know Garrett played on the basketball team last year but I don't know why Beckett's name looks familiar," he mumbled to himself.
"Talking to yourself again, weirdo?" said a feminine voice.
Paul raised his head to be greeted by a red-headed Caucasian girl.
"Hey Amanda. Nah, just wonderin' where I've seen Beckett's name before. My new schedule. What'd you get?" he asked.
"Oh, hey, I'm in your Algebra class. Good, I can copy off your homework," Amanda said with a sly grin. "And uh, Beckett's the one with the Mustang. I only know that 'cause the thots in Home Ec wouldn't shut up about him last year."
"Oh. Oh! Right, yeah, I remember. Wait, did he flunk?" Paul snickered.
Amanda shrugged. "Looks like it. Good luck dealing with him though. I hear he's an ass. See you next period," she said as she waved to Paul with her back turned.
"Did you mean like next month or... ?" Paul asked with a laugh.
She flicked him off silently and turned down the hall of building C. Paul shrugged and made his way to his American History classroom.
"Economics? Ugh, fuck me, dude," groaned a foul-mouthed boy.
"And first period too? Sucks bruh. Anyone you know in your class?" asked a tough looking student.
"Nah. Mostly new names too. Look at this. Har--Har-ooka? The hell? Is that like, Japanese or something? You watch anime, right?" the foul-mouthed boy questioned.
The tough looking student blinked. "Yeah, but what's that got to do with anything?"
"I'm saying, like, does that name sound Japanese to you?"
"I don't know dude. That's--what the hell, that's like sorta-kinda racist."
"Oh come on , it was just a question. Funny ass name is all I'm saying. And who the hell names their kid Reno? Did this guy's parents stay up watching too much SpikeTV or something? Were they big Reno911 fans?"
"You're an asshole," laughed the tough looking student. "I'll see you after school."
"Yeah. But what about Avery? That name is normal!" called the foul-mouthed boy.
"Yeah, but you're not normal!" replied the tough looking student.
When Piper finally got her schedule, she would notice she had been already assigned her classes. At the top of the list was Art Appreciation. How the hell did that happen? It was also an advanced class. If she were to flip the page over she would notice there were only five other students in her class. Most of the names seemed average or boring, but one, in particular, might catch her eye. Quinn. A sophomore wasn't meant to take a junior level class. How that happened was quite a phenomenon, but it wouldn't be changed any time soon.
"Alright, listen up," Mr. Morrison began, quieting his class. "I'm Daniel Morrison, your American History teacher. This class is pretty simple. It's the history of the United States of America. If you read the material I assign you, you should be able to answer any questions I give you. Everything and I mean everything, will come from the book. Understand?"
Morrison was an older black man. He was bald and had quite a build on him for an older guy. He was in his late fifties and today he was wearing cargo shorts, a black t-shirt, and light-up sketchers. "P.S. Don't ask me bout' my shoes. I like the lights. Yes, I'm bought 'em for me. I'm fifty-eight. No, I don't live with my mama. Yes, my salary is fine. If you talk shit in my class I'm not afraid to talk shit back to ya. Just cause I'm old don't mean I can't cut with the best of 'em. Now let's start with a question you should all be able to answer."
Mr. Morrison took a glance around the room and his eyes landed on Paul.
"Paul," Morrison bellowed.
Paul shook his head and looked forward to Mr. Morrison.
"Which of these was not a member of the original Thirteen Colonies? Virginia, New York, Florida, or Delaware?"
Piper and Quinn would find their first block of classes was the absolute slowest. Their Art Appreciation teacher was Mrs. Jane Hemley. She was among the driest, most fatal teachers in the school. Fortunately, Art Appreciation was the easiest class she taught. She was also head of the math department. If you had her for anything other than art, you would probably cry. Every word out of her mouth was like a gust of dry, hot desert air. It didn't smell bad, but it was as dry and lifeless as her old crow fingers. She pushed her specs up to her face and began her morning lesson.
"Good morning. Students." She walked to the center of the classroom with a paintbrush in her hand. "We'll start by putting you into pairs. Whoever's alone will be my partner."
Someone in the class audibly gulped.
"Uh. Let's see here. Piper. And uh, what's this? Queen? No, er, Quinn? Yes, Quinn. You two will work together for the remainder of this course. Beverly and Christina will also be partners. I'll fill in as Mr. James' partner."
"God damn it," he mumbled aloud.
In the Economics class, Haruka, Reno, and Avery were greeted by a sweet, younger lady who appeared to be in her late twenties to early thirties. She was a Caucasian woman with silky brown hair and she wore a striped oxford shirt and slacks with a pair of matching Nike's. Her hair was tied in a ponytail and she rolled up her sleeves to reveal a lengthy tattoo sleeve on her right arm. It was a very dark depiction of the collapse of the Greek Economy a little more than a decade ago.
"Good morning," she said with a warm, upbeat voice. "I'll be your Economics teacher, Kelsey. Don't worry about calling me Ms. or Mrs. I'm single and I'm only about ten years older than you all. I'm not old enough to be your parents so please, don't call me ma'am. While I do ask for respect, if you respect me, I'll respect you. It's that simple.
Now, this class can be easy, or it can be hard. All you have to do is understand how to work. I'll K.I.S.S. all your work to make sure you understand it. For those of you who don't know, that means 'keep it simple, stupid'. So to anyone who can open this class with a bang, how should goods and services be produced?"
Her eyes fell to Reno in the back of the class. "You. Big guy. Wanna give me answer?"
"Should've asked the Japanese broad. I bet she knows," snickered a foul-mouthed student from the back of the classroom.
Kelsey paused and folded her arms. She didn't quite hear what this student had said. "Sorry, I didn't catch that. What'd you say, young man? Did anyone else hear him?"
"You askin' me or you tellin' me?" Morrison said with a nod at Paul.
"Flo-Florida. It's Florida," Paul answered.
"Correct. Studied over the summer, didn't you? I know your momma made you."
Before Morrison could continue, there was a buzz on his intercom. It was a school-wide announcement. "Attention students and staff. School clubs will be available for sign-up today in the gym after school from 4:00 pm to 5:15 pm. Thank you."
Before they knew it, the day was over. School was coming to an end and most students had hurried to the gym to either create or sign-up with school clubs. There were a number of school clubs, some of which were even trying to get enough members to start a school organization. They included:
- The Kendo Club - see Amaris Ishida
- The Video Game Club - see Lace Kendall
- The Chess Club - see Mia Grayson
- The Automotive Club - see Nathaniel Drake
- The Swimming Club - see Grace Harden
- The Dedicated Fiction Club - see Amanda Greenhouse
- The Drama Club - see Riku Satsura
- The IT Club - See Leroy Scott
Some of these clubs were already full organizations within the school and had a room dedicated to them for their activities. For new clubs to be created, one simply needed to speak with Coach Overton in the gym at any time after school.
- Interact with your classmates.
- Investigate the gym.