The SFHS Crier

One School to the Next

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Transfer student, Maddie Zerfas, is no newbie to new schools.

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Transferring schools can be a different, difficult, and scary process, especially in a student’s senior year.
Madison Zerfas (Maddie) transferred from Sauk Rapids to SFHS this year and this is her fourth high school in four years. In fact, Maddie has moved 15 times in her lifetime.
Zerfas has become an expert at changing schools, meeting new teachers, and making new friends.
“It was really scary because it’s a new school again and sometimes people will come up and introduce themselves and then other times, you sit in class and nobody talks to you,” Zerfas said, “It just takes time, you just have to meet people and learn the routine, but it’s just a routine like at every other school, there’s nothing you can do to force yourself to adjust you just need to meet people and get comfortable with the routine of the day”.
When you think about all the new things a new student would have to experience, finding classrooms, where to sit at lunch, what to get involved in, just trying to fit in and make new friends is very scary in the beginning.
“It’s kind of intimidating walking into new people and not knowing anyone and having to do things on your own. The first day I didn’t eat, I just went to the locker room because I was scared and I didn’t know anyone, then the 2nd day people invited me to sit with them so I was happy because I was like thank you so much I didn’t want to walk around the whole trimester!”
Maddie’s family moved around for different reasons one being better jobs in new locations for her parents. This changing has allowed Maddie to develop friendships with kids all over the country and has taught her how to adjust rather quickly.
School counselor, Jamie Helle helps to identify the needs to help incoming transfer students.
“Students and parents call SFHS to start the enrollment process. Then, SFHS requests records from their past school, and the student and parent come for their enrollment meeting with their school counselor.” said Helle. “At that point, we welcome them, give them an overview of our school, and graduation requirements. Then, we set them up with a schedule here at SFHS.”
After the student is enrolled, the counseling office has its Teacher’s Assistant give a tour of where the new students classes are, stop at the IMC, visit the nutrition office to set up their lunch pin, and show the student where the locker commons are for their grade. ‘
The counseling office hopes new students feel welcome, but even teachers wonder about the right balance.
“I think that everyone feels a little bit awkward,” said English teacher Mary Lundquist. “They’re like, I don’t want to be aggressive, but I don’t know exactly what to say, so I try to remind the class on the first day that we have new students and to go out of their way because I think that is out of everyone’s comfort zone as 15-16 year olds. I don’t notice people going out of their way to be nice, but I don’t notice them being mean or disrespectful or rude to them.”
A difficult part of transferring schools could be jumping into lessons that you have never been taught before.
“I think a lot of places do things a little bit differently, I’ve noticed with kids coming in, maybe they may have already read something so it actually makes it a little bit easier for them to have that overlap. I think it’s the same kind of stuff just a tiny bit different.” said Mary Lundquist.
Lundquist’s final thoughts, “I think it’s really hard for someone to change every aspect of their life, and this is just one part of it, this is just school, maybe they moved, or maybe they are just living with someone different or maybe they are just going to a different school, but it’s still the social and academic, it’s all those things. If I can do anything to make it easier or try to remind myself to ask ‘How are things going’, ‘Is everything okay now’ and I think just be more conscience about that.”
With first trimester coming close to an end it is more of a routine now and found her place amongst the students.
“Honestly I can say it is about my favorite school I’ve been to because people here are just nice and at other schools they were not like openly nice to everyone,” said Zerfas, “I know people here say you have a really clicky grade but compared to other schools you don’t, you guys actually have a really good class here and I like the people a lot.”

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One School to the Next