New students assimilate into pioneer culture

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By Julia Harris, Staff Reporter

Each fall, hundreds of students new to our area enroll in Tredyffrin-Easttown schools. This year, there are 65 new Conestoga students coming from far and wide, including European countries like France. While their backgrounds may be different, one thing they all have in common is starting their first year at a new school online. Online learning comes with varying challenges for every student, but new students may have to deal with additional difficulties.  

Conestoga counselor and Students for Students Club advisor Brian Samson noted that it is hard this year for new students to develop relationships. With online classes and many kids choosing to not turn on their cameras, it is difficult for the them to connect with their peers.  

“It is almost like the pause button has been pushed on this important part of joining a new school,” Samson said. “That said, there have been some new students who have signed up for virtual clubs and are starting to participate in those meetings. I also think the teachers try their best to integrate new students to the high school in their classes. It will take longer than a typical year.” 

Another difficulty some new students have been facing is that those who came from areas where it is necessary to quarantine have not been able to go to the school to pick up books or laptops. To solve this issue along with numerous others, the district created the Welcoming Committee to help new families adjust to the school and the community. 

Jen Marsala, the Chair of the CHS Welcoming Committee, said, “When a new family moves here, they can fill out a form for us to connect with them, and then I match them with one or more parents who are in the same grade as theirs. That member of the committee can help the new family throughout the year with any questions they have.”  

Marsala also noted that the new students “are very much looking forward to being back in school in person where they can start to make new friends and see the building for the first time and really get used to what being a student at Conestoga is like.” To initiate in-person interactions, most new students have chosen the hybrid model for school. 

Students for Students Club, founded by junior Unnati Gupta, is another avenue through which the Conestoga staff and student body can help new students adjust. This year, the club plans to hold monthly meetings to discuss what is going on at ’Stoga. 

“We have former new students at every meeting ready to answer any questions, so facilitating those conversations is at the center of what we do. I am hoping our club can start to bring new students together,” Gupta said. 

Sophomore Renkai Luo, who is new to the district this year, is one of many new students who is looking forward to being able to make new friends in person. 

“It has been a bit odd because I haven’t actually seen the building at all yet,” Luo said. “I think it’s important for people to know that (new students) don’t bite, and it’s always fine to reach out.” 


Julia Harris can be reached at [email protected]