Welcome Back Warriors

Jupiter High students returned to campus for the first time in over six months on Sept. 21 and were greeted by the school’s Student Government Association and the Athletic Community Education club to give Warriors a proper welcoming on their first day back to brick-and-mortar.

SGA and ACES greeted hundreds of students at 7 a.m. with plenty of smiles, upbeat music and biodegradable balloons. The Warrior mascot joined in on the fun, sending positive vibes to the socially-distanced crowd. 

“The ‘welcoming’ I feel was a success. If the sky wouldn’t have opened up, it would have been better, but the point was made,” Michael DeLeonardo, SGA advisor, said.

Although the weather did not cooperate, both SGA and ACES were dedicated to making returning students feel welcome, and they plan to continue to make school spirit a priority.

“The welcoming plan we initially had had to be changed at the last minute due to weather. Nevertheless, it was still a success as students were welcomed ‘home’ and were able to see their teachers and friends from a distance,” Kimberly Jalm, JHS Athletic Director and ACES sponsor, said.

Jupiter High’s SGA is a leadership program that meets first period and is responsible for planning events like the Welcome Back celebration on Sept. 21, Homecoming, Spirit Week and pep rallies.  Sophomore Ellie Willis is the head of the SGA committee behind the welcoming ceremony and other school spirit events. 

“SGA is my second family. It is my happy place; it is everything to me. I can’t even explain it. You get into the class, and it is an immediate family,” Willis said. 

ACES is a leadership program for student athletes. In the program, students learn how to be leaders on and off the playing field. They decided to partner with SGA for the welcoming ceremony because both organizations promote school spirit and leadership on campus. 

“It’s important to welcome students back to school because they need to know that we’ve been thinking of them constantly,” Jalm said. “On the first day of school I stood in front of the atrium directing students to the [5000 and 7000] hallways and told them the easiest route to get to their first period classes.”

According to Jalm, ACES changes students for the better, and the organization teaches student athletes valuable leadership skills.

“The life lessons and discussions we have within the club are important for students to be able to have with each other and adults who just listen and offer advice. Being a leader can be as simple as voicing your opinion and standing up for what’s right. We go through case studies in the official ACES meetings, and on campus we discuss things that may arise on our own sports’ teams or within the normal school day,” Jalm said.

Student ACES has participated in events like the welcoming ceremony before. At the end of last school year, when Jupiter High’s Champions of Characters did not get their formal dinner celebration, ACES set up a caravan to show their support to the students who were awarded the honor. Friends, family members, JHS principal Dr. Colleen Iannitti and even local police recognized the students who received the award.