Return to Headlines

Freshman Boost Classes Enhance Students' Soft Skills

In December Freshman Boost classes at the Orchard Park High School were visited by presenters, Lindsey and Beau Riggs through the “Heads Up” program.  The program is in its third year at the high school and is a collaboration between the Orchard Park Foundation for Academic Excellence, Bryant & Stratton College, Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce and the Great Erie Federal Credit Union.  The title “Heads Up” comes from the desire to get people, specifically students, out of their devices and into the present. The programs’ training focuses on soft skills; the ability to know how to use a proper handshake, making eye contact while speaking and overall good listening skills.

Lindsay and Beau Riggs were trained to present to students through Bryant and Stratton College.  Lindsay works for the United Way and Beau works for Northwest Bank.  They demonstrated the different types of handshakes that are used in society then honed in on the proper handshake to use in an introduction or at a job interview.  The students were able to work on asking and answering open ended questions and the presenters also spoke a little about themselves and their careers while checking in with the students to ensure they were using their close listening skills.  The freshmen were actively engaged and interested in the presentation.  Staff at the Orchard Park High School are grateful to the Riggs’ for donating their time to our students to help the students grow in the use of their social skills.

The Freshman Boost program is held one day per six day cycle during the first semester of the school year.  The students participate in activities that help prepare them for the adjustment to high school.  They have the opportunity to go on a scavenger hunt to help them learn their way around the building.  The students also learn study skills, technology tips, college preparation, career planning, stress reduction and a variety of other topics designed to help them along their high school path.  Freshman Boost is both a character-building program as well as a program that helps students achieve success in high school.  The freshman meet the Administration, Social Workers, Media Specialists, and the Counselors.  The goal of the class is to make connections and allow students to interact in a different forum where they feel safe.