WHITTIER – Nearly 11,000 Whittier Union High School District students made their way onto campuses bedecked in colorful posters and balloons for the first day of school on Aug. 17, welcomed by cheer teams, Associated Student Body (ASB) members, principals, administrators and peers.

Across campuses, students made their way down red carpets, hugged one another and high-fived as band members played thrilling tunes to create an exciting environment for students and set the tone for a successful 2022-23 school year.

Freshmen students kicked off the new school year during the District’s Freshmen First Day (FFD) on Aug. 16 – an annual tradition that aims to ease the transition into high school for students. FFD also helps new students build connections with one another and familiarize themselves with their new campus, teachers and administrators, ensuring they are prepared to have an impactful high school experience.

At La Serna High School, ASB, Link Crew and cheer members made the gymnasium roar as they held welcome posters and cheered while freshmen students made their way onto the bleachers for a morning of spirit-activities and cheer and dance performances.

“We were so excited to be a part of Freshmen First Day,” senior ASB president Aaron Saucedo said. “We get to show students what being a Lancer is all about. Freshmen First Day is when ASB sets the tone for the coming school year, and we hope to carry on the same excitement throughout all of our upcoming events.”

California, Santa Fe, Pioneer and Whittier high schools were also bustling with activity on FFD, with administrators and ASB members helping students get acclimated to their school culture. FFD events included meet-and-greets with teachers, walkthroughs of class schedules, games and student performances. This school year, the District welcomed more than 2,500 freshmen students.

Whittier Union is proud to begin the school year under new executive leadership, which includes Superintendent Dr. Monica Oviedo, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Jamero, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Lilia Bozigian, District Director of Athletics and Activities Sean Steward and District Transportation Director Karen Torres. Pioneer High School will also see new leadership in place as Mary Chapman takes the helm as principal.

As part of the District’s COVID-19 recovery plan, this year Whittier Union High School District will launch additional tutoring support for students and enhance its Social Emotional Learning (SEL) pyramid of support to ensure students have access to the tools and resources they need for academic and personal success.

The District’s SEL pyramid includes schoolwide universal preventions, small group target preventions and individual intensive intervention, which provide students with calming spaces, mental health messaging and presentations, school engagement activities, group counseling, crisis intervention and more.

“We are thrilled to see all of our new and returning students on campuses enjoying the many festivities taking place during the first week of school,” Superintendent Dr. Monica Oviedo said. “At Whittier Union, we pride ourselves on doing Whatever It Takes to ensure our students have access to the resources they need to succeed and this school year we will continue to work hard and inspire our students to follow their passions. Thank you to all of our students and staff members who worked tirelessly to decorate our campuses and make for an exciting return to school for our students.”


WUHSD_FFD_1: La Serna High School Link Crew members gather to celebrate freshmen students as they arrive on campus for the District’s Freshmen First Day on Aug. 16.

WUHSD_FFD_2: California High School students hold colorful welcome posters while freshmen students make their way onto the school’s field during Freshmen First Day on Aug. 16.