Student 2 Student welcomes newcomers to Wiesbaden High School
January 19, 2012
WIESBADEN, Germany - Looking back, Joseph Griffith would have enjoyed having someone official show him around when he moved to Germany from Texas in the seventh grade.
That is one of the reasons he volunteers for Student 2 Student, an organization at Wiesbaden High School that has students orient new students at the school.
Wiesbaden High, like most schools in a military community, receives a large number of new students. The school gets between 100 and 120 new students every year, said Derick Lyn Parker, the school's registrar.
Undra Robinson, guidance counselor and the program's adviser, said S2S, as it is often called, is a national program that has been in Wiesbaden for five years.
The point of the program is to make new students' transitions into the school go as smoothly as possible, Robinson said.
"Students are not always excited about moving, so we always want to make sure they feel welcome," Robinson said.
New students can follow their mentor for up to a week, Robinson said. Student volunteers go over the student handbook, the school's agenda books, show students around the school, introduce them to people and have lunch with them, she said.
S2S is student run, and has about 13 volunteers, Robinson said. The program started with 20 volunteers at the beginning of the year, but some students have since moved.
With many people moving from Heidelberg to Wiesbaden, school officials expect many new students at the start of the next school year, said Sharon O'Donnell, principal at Wiesbaden High School.
School officials do not have firm numbers on how many students to expect, but S2S could always use more volunteers, O'Donnell said. New volunteers are always welcome, Robinson said.
At a meeting, volunteers said participating in the program is a rewarding experience.
Amanda Kreiner, a junior, said she started volunteering at the beginning of the year and so far has helped 10 students adjust to Wiesbaden High. "I decided to get involved because when I moved here I didn't have anyone to help me adjust," she said.
Devan Tisdale, a junior, said he has volunteered for two years, and in October traveled to West Point, N.Y., to participate in a S2S conference. The conference focused on the leadership skills necessary to be an effective volunteer for the program, he said.
Tisdale, who has moved seven times, said he always stresses that new students shouldn't be afraid to ask him questions, even after they have been at the school for awhile.
Griffith said he believes students generally do their best to welcome new students. "A lot of people do the stuff that we do," he said. "We just made it official."
Learn more at www.militarychild.org/child-student/student-2-student.