Student forms Dragon Wings to support new students after his own experience

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As many students can attest to, entering a high school can be challenging — from having to adapt to the new school culture to finding your classes to figuring out what clubs, sports teams or events you want to attend or become a part of. However, there is an added level of stress for students transferring in from different schools, sometimes not knowing anyone or even coming in mid-year.

According to Principal Colleen Weiner, the school sometimes receives as many as 80 kids who are new upperclassmen transfer students, along with an entire class of new freshmen.

In the first few days, this surge of new students naturally causes some confusion as new students become accustomed to where their classes are and who the right people to contact are if they have any problems. The school has student groups such as PRIDE leaders which consists of upperclassman who welcome and guide the incoming freshman the first few days of school to help with the transition and make them feel more comfortable.

However, there is currently no solid substitute for upperclassmen or for students who transfer to the school midyear. This can result in a confusing introduction to extracurriculars, classes, and graduation requirements.

In an effort to help ease the transfer process for incoming freshmen and new upperclassmen, Seniors Angel Rios-Bermudez and D’Andrea Mabery D’Antonio; Principal Colleen Weiner; and Counselor Bethsaida Franco are creating a group called Dragon Wings.

Rios-Bermudez was inspired to create this club because he, himself, was a transfer student in the beginning of his junior year, and he knows firsthand how hard it is to transition to a new high school and make new friends.

Rios-Bermudez said the club’s purpose is to “make sure anyone new can feel welcome, and can have someone to talk to.”

The club will accomplish this by placing new students with members of Dragon Wings, who will help the students get familiar with the layout of the school, learn about the classes and activities offered, and also help them learn about graduation requirements.

Dragon Wings club members will not only help them around the school but also form friendships with the new students, so they never feel left out even outside of the school day. Rios-Bermudez said the members will accomplish this by, for example, “going to games with them and introducing them to Middletown if they are not from the area,” as well as introducing them to other students at the high school.

Currently, Dragon Wings is not fully formed. Rios-Bermudez and his advisors are still finalizing the small details, such as which activities members of the club will do with new transfer students. According to Rios-Bermudez, “In a few weeks from now the program will start.”

Weiner spoke to the importance of the club and making people feel welcome at the high school “so everyone has the most opportunity for success at Middletown High School.”

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