Freshman Assembly motivates, inspires students

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Erin Kee

Inspirational speaker Keith Hawkins shares his message with students on the football field.

After a year of adjusting to COVID-19 procedures and distance learning, Carlmont brought back some normalcy and tradition for the Class of 2024. The Freshman Assembly, traditionally known as the Welcome Back Assembly, invited freshmen to the football field on Wednesday, April 21 for games, music, snacks, and an inspirational message. 

As the Associated Student Body (ASB) and Carlmont administration tried to make the assembly as normal as possible, they prioritized safety. Students wore masks and checked into the event using the Frontline Health Portal.

“The chairs were set up outside on the field and were far apart from each other,” said Cooper Perez, a junior and ASB member. “Also, everyone who came had to fill out a form stating that they were coming, so we had a list of everyone there for contact tracing.”

The switch from the Welcome Back Assembly to the Freshman Assembly kept the number of people on the field low and allowed freshmen to experience being on campus.

“The assembly was one way of introducing freshmen to Carlmont culture as well as each other. It is hard to get to know people on Zoom, so doing an assembly with a couple of hundred freshmen seemed like a perfect idea to get them involved at Carlmont,” Perez said. 

Trinity John Karunagaran, a freshman at the assembly, found that the event gave students a sense of what Carlmont is really like.

“It gave me a perspective that Carlmont values connectivity and is a very welcoming place. It was an overall really relatable and moving assembly,” Karunagaran said.

On top of being at school in person, freshmen were motivated and inspired by the guest speaker, Keith Hawkins.

“Keith has been to Carlmont before and is friends with Mr. Kelly [the ASB Activities Director], so as soon as Mr. Kelly heard that we could have an assembly, he called and booked Keith,” Perez said. 

Hawkins shared personal stories while encouraging students to tell their own. He also discussed the value of education and the opportunity it brings, and told students to be there for each other and live without fear. Freshman Megan Reda shared her favorite part of Hawkins’ speech and what she took away from it.

“I really liked when he was talking about having no fear and just living your life. Going forward, I hope to do things that I’m afraid of anyway,” Reda said. 

Like Reda, Karunagaran thought Hawkins’ message was inspiring and taught students important morals and values for their time at Carlmont and the rest of their lives. 

“I found Hawkins’ stories really funny and inspiring,” Karunagaran said. “I took away that it’s normal to have self-doubt and anxiety take over, but with the help of others, we can overcome it.”

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