Transferring to a new school where you don’t know anyone can be a scary, nerve-wracking, and an uncomfortable situation, but now, the new EHHS Peer Ambassador Program can help make the experience much better. Whether it be because of parents getting a new job at a new location, needing a change of scenery, or otherwise, sometimes transferring schools is a necessary step in a person’s life. However, some transfer students aren’t as lucky as those who are coming into EHHS because EHHS adapts to transfer students’ needs in a way that is more efficient and meaningful than other schools.
Mrs. Susan Harkins, the EHHS vice principal stated that there is a new program at EHHS that caters to transfer students’ needs. This program is called The Peer Ambassador Program. The Peer Ambassador Program takes place in the guidance office, where the new student will meet with their counselor and they will be given an appropriate schedule to follow. Afterwards, the guidance secretary will ask another student to give the transfer student a tour around the school, give them information about classes and clubs, and inform the student about EHHS in general. Mrs. Harkins states, “The Peer Ambassador Program is a very formal way to connect new students with positive peer mentors. It’s students helping students.”
Another focus of The Peer Ambassador Program is to help current students build upon their leadership skills. It teaches students how to help and lead others that are less informed than they are. The students would have to go through a formalized training before they are ready to become peer ambassadors, but overall, it would be worth it because they would be helping another student where they need it. The students would be open to meet with each other in any way that the new student would feel necessary; that includes perhaps having lunch together, visiting different classes together, visiting their locker, the auditorium, or watching in on a specific club that they might be interested in. This way, when the new student officially becomes enrolled in EHHS, it is not as if they don’t know anyone; they would have befriended someone through The Peer Ambassador Program.
Anyone can sign up to be a peer ambassador. There is a bulletin board outside of Mrs. Harkins’ room for anyone interested. Anyone who is interested in helping new students is welcome to sign up to go through this program. It will take place during the school day and the student would get community service hours for giving back to the school during the operation times of the program.
EHHS overall is a very warm and welcoming school. The staff welcomes new students with open arms and makes sure that students are happy with the environment that they have come to know. Being a transfer student isn’t all bad by any means. Sure, it can be scary, but there are also many opportunities for community service, relationships, and different senses of community. Tommy Hatch, a senior that came to EHHS from Branford High at the beginning of his junior year, stated that it was really the friendships at EHHS that made him secure in the school environment. According to Tommy, the process of transferring to a brand new school can be nerve-wracking at first, but it becomes worth it when you meet people that accept you.
The advice that Tommy would give to a new transfer student is that you shouldn’t be afraid to talk to other students. “If you see someone that looks friendly,” Tommy stated, “you should greet them. Tell them they look nice, maybe.” The hardest part about coming to EHHS to Tommy was that there are a lot of other people at EHHS. However, when Tommy found a secure friend group, he realized that it wasn’t so bad afterall. At EHHS, since there are so many people, there is more potential to greet people. Starting up a conversation and/or attempting to make friends is definitely the way to go in regards to becoming comfortable at EHHS. Tommy would recommend joining a club or sport because that way, a new student would be able to make friends through a common interest.
Kayla Dayton transferred in sophomore year. Since coming to EHHS from Co-Op in New Haven, Kayla has had nothing but good things to say about our school. Kayla says, “I will forever remember my 3 years here at EHHS and all the friends and memories I was lucky enough to make. I wish I could’ve been here for all of my high school years.” Although it took Kayla a while to break out of her comfort zone, in a few months, she was on top of her game. Kayla realized that there was a place for her at EHHS because of all of the diversity in different personality types. In comparison to her old school, Kayla feels safe, comfortable, and “at home” at EHHS. She states that it is very hard to feel out of place at EHHS because there are so many clubs, groups, and sport for people to join.
Overall, transfer students will have a much better chance at becoming comfortable with their school if they put themselves out there sooner. If you are a new transfer student that is coming to EHHS, talk to everyone you can! Join clubs! Participate in sports! Approach people who seem like you’ll get along with! Friends are your best bet to having an amazing high school career at EHHS. With a welcoming, warm, and nurturing school like EHHS, transferring schools can turn into a scary experience to one that is comforting, new, and amazing.