From left, Aryssa Franklin, Natalie Devolld and Hayden Tenney chat in the RRHS courtyard, where more than 700 fellow freshmen were milling around.  (Herron photo)




A whole new adventure begins today for more than 1,450 Rio Rancho Public Schools student: the first day of high school.

Cleveland and Rio Rancho high schools held Jump Start days Thursday, giving their incoming freshmen a chance to get a look at what will be their campus for the next four years.

Nope, they ain’t in middle school anymore.

Among the 743 incoming freshmen at Rio Rancho High School – 725 is the number at CHS – were three friends making the jump from eighth grade at Lincoln Middle School a few months ago to high school.

“Scared” and “lost” were their common denominators, so to speak, but none had had nightmares or recently dreamt about starting high school.

Aryssa Franklin said she’d been on campus “a few times, for cheer and volleyball.”

Yes, she agreed, the RRHS campus is much larger than LMS, and, “Honestly, the fact that’s there’s stairs makes me, like, scared.

“It’s just that I’m gonna get lost; I know that,” she said. “I know a lot of people, so I’m not gonna be, like, scared to have classes with them.”

“It’s very scary,” Natalie Devolld agreed. “I’m definitely going to get lost a few times, and anxiety’s going to go through the roof, but I think overall it’ll be fine.”

Her biggest challenge as the first day approached, she said, was, “I’ve had, like, what am I gonna wear problems, but, other than that, fine.”

Although Aryssa and Natalie didn’t have plans yet for extracurricular involvement, their friend Hayden Tenney, said she would consider cheerleading and DECA.


“Yes. Very,” she replied. “Like getting lost, too, because it’s such a bigger campus than Lincoln.”

Hayden’s older sister, now 23, is a Rams alum, so she knew more than the other two about the campus.

If any former eighth-graders needed encouragement or ideas regarding what lies ahead for them, there were occasional cheers for RRHS – the time-honored, “Rio. Rio Rancho” – and booths from myriad clubs and associations in the courtyard, ranging from Educators Rising and the Associated Students, to Hispanic Student Union and Native American Student Union.

Students also wandered through the classrooms, as the countdown continued to the first bell of the 2022-23 school year Friday morning.