Getting Ready - High School Readiness Days Begin

New freshmen tour Chaparral HighThe principal of Chaparral High School took the microphone and promptly stepped into the mass of standing freshmen with band, cheerleaders, and dance team members standing along the edge of the auditorium.


In two separate gatherings Monday, Principal Nino Etienne welcomed the new students, seated or standing in the front and their parents, seated mostly at the back of the auditorium.


He introduced his administrative team pictured on a slide, then stepped away to make room for the school’s Bobcat band, cheerleaders, Top Cat dance team, choir, color guard and theater students already practicing and rehearsing.


After the performances, groups of freshmen met with their student leader tour guides and walked through the huge campus, now entering its second year.


Etienne was principal at Eastern Hills Middle School and Gateway High and Middle Schools before taking the high school post this summer.


He told the new freshmen – the Class of 2027 – that he’s committed to spending these next four years with them.


“For me, the biggest thing is to establish that Bobcat pride, to begin to learn our traditions and build a family,” he said of the goals for readiness days.


All Killeen ISD secondary schools are hosting readiness orientation days for all students this week.


Elementary schools host Meet the Teacher for parents and students to connect with their teacher and visit their classroom. That is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday.


All KISD schools begin next Monday – Aug. 14.


“Of course, we want them to get to know the campus,” the new Chaparral principal said, “but more than that, to feel part of what we are trying to do in creating a family.”

Chaparral Top CatsChaparral principal gives welcome


Etienne explained that the goal is for everyone walking into the school, students, parents, staff members and the surrounding neighborhood and greater community to enjoy coming to school.


“We’re creating a culture of joy,” he said. “We want everyone to enjoy coming to school. We’re building trust and community.”


“Today is the start of that – building that foundation for them and for me,” said the new high school principal.


He also wanted to showcase the excitement of the Bobcats’ spirit leaders.


The band and choir led the freshmen in the school song. Cheerleaders led the new students in a cheer they will hear and hopefully respond to at athletic events.


Natalie Mallett, a sophomore and part of theater and Junior ROTC, was one of the student leaders introducing freshmen to the campus.


“High school is not something to be afraid of,” she said. “You need to take it all head on.”


She said she was impressed with the positive climate of Chaparral High School. “It’s so much fun,” she said of theater and JROTC. “We’re one big family.”

Chaparral Bobcat cheerleadersBobcats welcome freshmen


Mallett said she found students and staff were accepting and she felt free to be herself at the school.


The start of school is an exciting time, the new principal said, with band, choir, theater, football, volleyball, dance, and other students already well into workouts, practice and rehearsal.


“To me, that’s the fun part, all the events and activities,” he said. “There’s always something you can lean on to create that joy.”


Winning, said Etienne, is about building a sense of pride and purpose into every contest and performance.


“That sense of pride you take is how you win. When you have that pride you will always win.”