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A new crop of freshman students were welcomed to the “Cabrillo family” on Thursday morning during Cabrillo High School’s annual Conq Camp, an on-campus event that also served as an introduction for the school’s new principal.

Isidro Carrasco, who was formally hired to take over the school’s top post in April, helped open the festive orientation, which included about 280 freshmen and was led by 70 upperclass students. The event, which included group activities and team-building exercises, had an overarching focus on spreading positivity, both on campus and online.

“I thoroughly enjoyed meeting our Class of 2022,” Carrasco said after the four-hour gathering. “They are an enthusiastic class and I am confident they will succeed at Cabrillo. I made it clear to them that my goal and work at Cabrillo is to ensure each and every one of them graduates ready for college and/or career. We at Cabrillo are here to help them achieve that goal.”

The upperclass students, who were members of the school’s Link Crew, met with the incoming freshmen and gave them tips and advice on adjusting to high school life as they led the new students through a variety of activities.

Michelle Poquette, the school’s activities director, said she was pleased to see the enthusiasm exhibited by the students. She said the main purpose of the event was to get the students acclimated and excited before the first day of classes, which will be Wednesday at all Lompoc Unified School District campuses.

“We try to say we’re welcoming you to the Cabrillo family,” she said. “This is our family. It’s our campus, which belongs to all of us, and (the freshmen) are a part of that family now.”

To help build that family atmosphere, Poquette said this year’s camp had an increased focus on positivity. That included encouraging students to meet new people and make new friends, as well as to be mindful of the way they interact online.

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“We’re just really trying to change the whole mentality of this generation that’s so attached to social media,” Poquette said. “These last two years, social media has been pretty negative for our country. We basically told all these freshmen that this is our school, all of us together, and we want it to be a positive place. It’s not a place for bullying, and it’s not a place for nasty social media posts. That’s just not accepted here at Cabrillo.”

In addition to the games and activities involving the students, all of the camp participants also gathered for a free, healthy lunch that was prepared by the district’s nutrition department.

Lompoc High School held its similar Brave Camp on Monday.

Poquette said the plan going forward at Cabrillo was to have the Link Crew leaders stay involved with the freshman students throughout the school year.

“Students connecting to students — making high school a positive experience,” she said of the goal of the program.

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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