By Will Murphy ‘19
For any new students coming to the high school, the SHOC team is here to help ease their transition. Students Helping Other Classmates: it’s as simple as that. The club is a youth-led mentorship program that requires months of preparation for SHOC Day, which introduces incoming freshmen to the high school.
President of SHOC, senior Ashlyn Lauder, explained, “I started planning SHOC [in] December of last year for a June 1st SHOC Day.” To start, the SHOC leadership council is constructed based on a series of interviews with the preceding year’s President and Vice President, accompanied by SHOC advisor Mr. Pat Clark.
After the leadership team is finalized, applications are opened for current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who want to become mentors. Lauder shared that they “get a couple hundred applications every year,” but of all of those applications, only 75 were chosen for the 2017-2018 school year. Mentors are also required to go through a training night and a rehearsal night before SHOC day to ensure they are ready to welcome the new students.
SHOC’s mission is to ensure a smooth transition into the high school, not only for rising freshmen, but for transfer students as well. Therefore, opportunities for touring and information are also given to transfer students. When asked how a transfer student’s experience differs from a normal incoming freshman’s, Lauder replied, “On New Student Orientation Night, all transfer students of all grades are invited and the leadership team specifically works with them.” Those students get tours directly from the leadership council and are given special attention because generally, it is harder for a student to transfer from a different district and integrate themselves into a completely new environment.
When the rising freshmen finally enter the high school, mentors are friendly and inviting to not only the people in their SHOC groups, but to every new student in the high school. SHOC mentors acknowledge their mentees, ask them how their year is going so far, and will help with anything that makes their arrival in the high school more welcoming. The initial activities of both SHOC day and orientation along with continued support throughout the year help incoming freshmen and new students to feel a part of the high school community.