CHAMPAIGN – Maegan Winters is more than a little nervous about her first day at Central High School.
"It's new, and not as many people know you," she said. "It's a big school. I'm going to get lost, I know it, on the first day."
The incoming freshman was registering Monday afternoon, and she was excited about a school cookout that evening for new students. She was hoping to see some friends and get more information to help her find her way around Central.
The cookout is a new addition to registration at Central this year. Principal Bill Freyman and PTSA members planned to cook hot dogs and serve chips and drinks to new students.
"The whole idea was to welcome folks who are new to Central, either freshmen or students new to the school," Freyman said. "Any time you add food to an event, you make it more welcoming. At Central, we've always promoted the family atmosphere of the school. There's no better way to start a new year off with the family than have a little cookout together."
Pam Winters, Maegan's mother, said she thought it was a good idea.
"Any information (Maegan) gets that makes her a little less leery is good," she said.
A meeting for the more than 300 freshmen and their parents was scheduled following the cookout to introduce student services staff, give some information about the school, including when to expect grades and progress reports, and let some parents offer advice about how to ensure students have a successful first year.
"It's a short program just to say hello and here's how to get started on the right foot," Freyman said.
Raulene Johnson was with her grandson, Javon Johnson, at registration. She hoped to meet some teachers and ask questions about the school Monday evening.
The school will hold a more detailed orientation a few weeks after classes start, when parents can visit classrooms, talk to teachers and learn more about graduation requirements.
Mary Jo Anastasia and her daughter Jamie planned to attend the cookout.
"It's probably a good way for (students) to meet incoming freshmen and see people they haven't seen all summer," Mary Jo Anastasia said. "It will make it a little less stressful."
Jamie added, "It sounds like fun."