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Clarke students gear up for college at student orientation


Before starting college this fall, incoming freshmen are given a chance to explore their college, meet their new peers and take all the necessary steps to become an enrolled student at new student orientation day.

The following recent W.T. Clarke High School graduates spoke with the Herald about their experiences at orientation and their plans for the upcoming semester.

Mallory Green will be attending SUNY Cortland this fall and studying Musical Theatre. She hopes to graduate and perform for a living, whether on a tour, cruise ship or on Broadway. “I want to be able to share some form of my art with the world,” she said.

Green is most excited for the higher level of theatre training that is offered at her college. College orientation was July 15 and 16 for Green and it made her confident that she made the right college decision, she said.

Green hopes to grow more comfortable meeting new people in her field. She said, “I feel like the quicker you can become more comfortable with someone, the easier it is to perform with them, especially when you don’t have tons of time to rehearse with them.” At orientation, she was able to talk to other musical theatre majors, play ice breakers and see one last look at her campus before move-in day on August 23.

Devon Rafanelli will be attending her dream school, the School of Music at the University of Maryland, this fall. Rafanelli will be pursuing a double major in Percussion Performance and Music Education.

“I have always been surrounded with music my whole life, and I want to continue doing it forever,” she said. Rafanelli has aspirations to change the world by teaching music.

Rafanelli had college orientation on July 8 and 9 and fell in love with the atmosphere of her college. “My orientation advisors were awesome and so helpful, they helped us with our schedules and made sure everyone knew how to do it,” she said. “I feel prepared now.”

Rafanelli plans to join the service-based music sorority SAI. “I am excited to meet people who share the same interests as me,” she said. She also intends to join LGBTQ groups and Zumba classeson campus.

Antonio Ianniello will be attending his top choice, Baruch College, this fall. Ianniello will be majoring in finance and hopes to be inducted into the Zicklin School of Business. Growing up, he was always interested in numbers, markets and business in general, which led him down his career path. At Clarke High School, he was a part of a business club called Distributive Education Clubs of America, which prepares young adults and entrepreneurs for future careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges throughout the world. Ianniello competed at both the state and international level with DECA.

Ianniello’s orientation was on June 4, different compared to most colleges because he had to take off a day from high school. “Orientation was not like anything I expected,” he said. “Most orientations are at minimum a day and in some cases vary to a week spent at that college or university. For me, it was only a few hours long and there was minimal interaction.”

Iannello’s few hours at orientation consisted of lectures, icebreakers, an English placement test, making their schedules and taking a tour. He hopes after college that he will become someone who is the perfect mix of both “book smart” and “street smart.”

“I want to gain enough knowledge so I can be successful but I don’t want to lose the side of me that is sly, ambitious and persistent,” he said. Ianniello looks forward to the start of his new journey on August 27, his first day of classes, and is excited to meet new friends, encounter new challenges, and see the person he will become after his experiences at Baruch College.