Incoming Grade 10 students get sneak peek at high school
SUMMERSIDE — The downpour may have moved grilling indoors but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the more than 60 volunteers and 150 students who came out Wednesday for Three Oaks Senior High’s annual Welcome Back Barbecue.
© Nancy MacPhee/Journal Pioneer
New TOSH students Kelsey Richard, left, and Ségolèn Farges, third left, chat with Climate Crew members Julia Campbell, second left, Rebecca Drummond and Millee McKay.
Among them was Kelsey Richard of Wellington.
Up until last year, the 15-year-old had been home schooled.
Coming from that environment, into a school population of more than 700 students and staff, is, admittedly, a little nerve racking, said Richard.
But, taking part in the barbecue, where students new to the school were given schedules, tours of the facility and a chance to meet teachers and fellow students, helped ease her worries.
“It is a definite change. It’s huge,” said Richard. “I didn’t come expecting something, so it is just this big, brand new place. So far, I am really enjoying it.”
The decision to attend public school after spending five years being home schooled was one she and her parents made over the summer.
“I guess I just found I wanted more of a social life,” said the teen. “Being home schooled, it is just you and your family all the time and I only had a few friends.
“I thought coming to this school would give me the opportunity to meet more people and to get involved in with more groups.”
And meet more people she did. Richard even helped out Climate Crew members Julia Campbell, Rebecca Drummond and Millee McKay translate for incoming Rotary exchange student Ségolèn Farges from France, who is attending Grade 10.
“We try to get them involved and try to get them in different social settings,” said Drummond, Climate Crew vice-president. “That’s our goal, to get people who aren’t really involved or don’t have a lot to do in their school to find their way and find something to do and find new people to meet.”
McKay added, “We also want to make sure they feel comfortable at Three Oaks. I know some people will feel, by just walking through the hallway, intimidated because they won’t know where to go or won’t know where they fit it.”
Through her translators, each who took a turn asking, in French, questions were posed to Farges and, in turn, answers translated to English.
“She wants to get better with English and speaking English and she wants to get to know the Island,” Campbell translated.
It was an experience that brought the students, all new to each another, together, and that gave the new students a familiar face or two in a sea of hundreds that would converge on the school Thursday morning.
That’s the reason behind the Welcome Back Barbecue, said principal Nicole Haire.
“When I saw 64 kids wearing their pink shirts today, it gave me a chill. It is so exciting. The weather is terrible but they came out anyway,” said Haire. “Usually there are about 250 new Grade 10s coming in but this is open to students who are new to the school as well. I would say there are over 100. I would say there are close to 150 here plus 60 leaders.”
Having the Climate Crew, who will be decked out in their pink T-shirts throughout the week, will also help ease the nerves of newcomers.
“There is a lot of anxiety that goes with transitioning from a small school like Miscouche, even SIS,” she added. “Knowing that there are going to be 64 pink shirts on the kids in the halls tomorrow so that if they’re lost or something, is just going to be a real warmth, almost like a big group hug.”