Working on fitting in to a new school


Last updated 10/10/2023 at 11:34am

As the Sisters community continues to grow, new students are transferring to Sisters School District every year. Joining an entirely new school system can be intimidating.

Roselynn Smith is a seventh-grader at Sisters Middle School (SMS). She moved here as a sixth-grader. Smith explained one challenge she faced adjusting to a new school is trying to choose the “right friends.” Smith found she connected more within the community when she joined the volleyball team her seventh-grade year. She experienced a “very encouraging and supportive team.’’ Smith shared that the teachers at SMS encouraged her to be who she was, which gave her new confidence.

Smith stated that in the first couple of days at the middle school, other students could have done a better job with showing her to classes and introducing her to the school. Other than that, she feels that her peers have greeted her with kindness, which she wants to “contribute back to others.” Smith’s advice for other students is “there is no such thing as failing but there is such a thing as giving up, so stay true to yourself and persevere through the hard times.”

Odin Lea moved here as a sixth grader and is now entering his eighth-grade year at Sisters Middle School. Lea found that joining the Sisters community went very well because of the welcoming environment. When asked if Lea joined extracurricular activities to help him get involved, he answered with a wide variety of sports, including “wrestling, basketball, cross-country, club soccer, strings, and now ECoS (the SMS outdoor science education program).”

Lea said a lot of the teachers were helpful in explaining things he missed the year before and trying to understand his background. Although many teachers were welcoming, Lea said that “more teachers could have reached out and been more helpful.”

Lea says his classmates did a great job making sure he had all of his questions answered, and does not feel like there was much else they could have done.

He “misses his old friends from his past school” but says “I’m grateful to be at SMS for the countless clubs and opportunities offered.” Lea’s advice for new students is to “step out of your comfort zone by trying as many new things as you can, which will help you meet new people.”

Jerome Parzybok moved here his seventh-grade year, and is now an eighth-grader. Parzybok expressed that “joining SMS was challenging at first because I had never been to a public school before.”

To help get into a schedule and routine Parzybok joined the basketball team. Parzybok said he was “nervous at first, but quickly became friends with everyone on the team and later joined the tournament basketball team.”

Parzybok shares that joining the basketball team has been his “favorite part about coming to Sisters Middle School.”

Coming into SMS, Parzybok felt very welcomed and cared for by all his teachers and classmates. Although Paryzbok “misses homeschooling with his little brother and mother, “he loves meeting new people and becoming part of a new community. His advice to other students is to “be yourself and you will be accepted by a wide range of people.”

Editor’s note: Young people are as susceptible as anyone to feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially when fitting in to a new community. Schools Superintendent Curt Scholl will talk about how the Sisters School District addresses these issues in a town hall titled “You Are Not Alone,” co-sponsored by Citizens 4 Community (C4C) and The Nugget, on Thursday, October 26, at Sisters Fire District Community Hall, 302 S. Elm St. in Sisters.


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