Training helps new students transition into junior high

By MAGGIE VELARDE 
Special to Leader-Press

It is awkward when attending a new school. But, students will tell you that the biggest fear they face when being the new kid at school is who to sit with during lunch. Thanks to the Junior Student 2 Student program, students at S. C. Lee Junior High don’t have that anxiety any longer. 
Leadership, service, and building relationships are just a few of JS2S participants’ core values. The program focuses on student-led support for transitioning military-connected students and helping them settle into their new school. 
Members including Makai Goudeau recently received training with school staff on tips and tricks to help new students feel welcomed and how to successfully implement the program and recruit more students. The students learned about giving tours to new students on campus and activities to use to get to know each other. 
“JS2S has helped me to talk to people who I normally wouldn’t talk to,” Goudeau said. “I have learned new ways to help the students out and games to help students feel welcomed.”
During the training, students participated in activities like The Name Game where students introduced themselves using an adjective that begins with the same letter of their first name In addition to stating their own adjective and name, students repeated those of the person before them to the next person. The purpose of the game is to learn each other’s names and get to know more about each other. Other games like The Appearance Game were utilized to help students be more observant and pay attention to details and the students around them who might be feeling isolated and need someone to be a friend to them. 
JS2S members Blain Butler and Mateo Sobers recognize that a transitioning student may have trouble making friends at first and that the student-centered program can help.
“Being in JS2S has made me a better person, more humble, friendlier, and not as shy,” Butler said. “I have learned that everyone is different.”
“The most rewarding part is the feeling of helping students and being nice…being kids’ friends and them not being alone,” Sober said.
The S.C. Lee JS2S program has more than 70 students participating and the program is continuously growing.  It is funded through a Department of Defense Education Activity grant.

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