New kids at Silver Valley High School might not feel so new from now on, thanks to a program that has been restarted this year.
Student 2 Student is a national initiative sponsored by the Military Child Education Coalition that aims to help ease studentsâ€™ transition when starting a new school.Â The program existed at Silver Valley several years ago, but lost momentum as its leaders transitioned out of the area.Â Now, thanks to a dedicated group of students and teachers, S2S is back in full force.
In October 2011, three SVHS studentsâ€”two from military families and one from a civilian familyâ€”accompanied Jennifer Quaye, Fort Irwinâ€™s school liaison officer and Cecile Green, a SVHS teacher and student government chair, to a Student 2 Student training session in Alabama.Â The session gave the students a better understanding of the program and how they could implement it at their school.
â€œThe kids came back ecstatic,â€ Quaye said.
Since then, Student to Student has grown to include 17 members and has aided more than 50 new students arriving at SVHS.Â Ambassadors from S2S greet all new students as soon as they arrive at the school, show them around the campus, help them find their classes, and personally invite them to attend activities such as football games.
â€œI truly believe Student 2 Student will change the culture of our school,â€ said Deyonna Jarman, a SVHS sophomore and president of the program.Â â€œOur school is different because most of the students donâ€™t live in the area.Â Sometimes kids donâ€™t open themselves up because they know theyâ€™re going to be leaving.Â Student 2 Student pulls everyone together and shows them itâ€™s OK to be new.â€
Darien Newton, a sophomore member of Student 2 Student, said participating in the program has been a rewarding experience.
â€œThe fact that I had been a new student means I understand what theyâ€™re going through,â€ he said.Â â€œWe serve as role models and someone for them to talk to.â€
Students have to apply to become S2S ambassadors, and are selected based on their grades, attitude, and participation in extracurricular activities.Â The program is largely student-run, with members responsible for coming up with ideas for activities and for training new S2S ambassadors.
â€œTheyâ€™re the ones who really run it,â€ said Green, the programâ€™s advisor.Â â€œI think weâ€™ve had a lot of success so far.â€
Monique Plummber, a junior and member of S2S, said she wanted to participate in the program because of the experience she had as a new student.
â€œLast year, we didnâ€™t have this program and I was new here.Â I felt kind of alone and had no friends for a while,â€ she said.Â â€œA program like this definitely helps promote a sense of community in our school.â€
Quaye said sheâ€™s very proud to see what the S2S members have accomplished so far.
â€œIâ€™m impressed with the kids,â€ she said.Â â€œTheyâ€™ve taken ownership of this program.Â They love their school and they want it to succeed.â€