There are countless narratives describing the challenge of being the new kid at a big school, but what exactly is it like for a new student at ASL? There are lots of new students every year at ASL as it is an international school, and in addition to dealing with being at a new school, many kids also have to deal with being in a new country.
Twenty-three percent of the middle school is new this year, which means there are 104 new faces to see. Many of these students may be confused, homesick, nervous, or lonely. Some are also excited and happy to begin their ASL experience. ASL prides itself on offering a very flexible academic and social environment, and many students attending ASL move schools frequently.
All eight students interviewed said they thought ASL and its students were extremely welcoming. Eighth grader Jackie Tucker mentioned the students were very friendly at the beginning, but their efforts to socialize decreased later on.
Some of the new kids had a buddy and/or a welcome family, but some had neither, and there were mixed reviews on their helpfulness. A few students never met their welcome families, and their buddies didn’t make an effort to engage with them at school.
On a positive note, fifth grader Annie Fisher said, “[My buddy] was really helpful, and I felt prepared when I came to school, and now she is one of my best friends.” With or without the help of previous students, every new student interviewed managed to make some friends, and most agreed their friends were a mix of old and new students.
ASL offers a variety of extracurricular activities such as ASPs or school sports, and almost all the new students chose to take advantage of those opportunities. Every single student interviewed said that they thought the move to ASL was a positive experience for them. It takes courage to talk to strangers and, to a new kid at a big school, virtually everyone is a stranger. It would appear that the new middle school students at ASL are well on their way to feeling settled.