New Welcome Wagon program helps welcome transfer students


Graphic by Peabody.

Caroline Peabody ’22, Staff Writer

The community at South can be intimidating and hard to fit into, especially for transfer students at South that could benefit from a program that familiarizes them with the school, and a way for them to get to know other students while they’re at South. Mia Neumen ’22, is a German exchange student who started attending South last year.

“They made a meeting for exchange students, where I had the possibility to meet other exchange students, and we all talked about the year ahead of us, which made me nervous but excited,” Neumen said.

Kaya Musicki ’21, Link Crew leader, is one of the students who started the program after she noticed the struggle that students faced as they navigated South. She, along with Siena Weisbrodt and Sydney Barbieri came up with the idea of starting a transfer student welcoming program at South called the Welcome Wagon. 

“We saw that there was no program like that at South, that would help guide new kids through school, we decided that we needed to start something and that we needed to fill that void. So we contacted Mr. Hecker and saw what we could do,” Musicki said.

Todd Hecker, physics teacher, is the supervisor behind the transfer student program. He took on the supervision role with the Link Crew leaders running the program because he understood that these students might struggle to adjust to the environment at South. After he became supervisor, he was inspired to create a path for transfer students as they navigate the school, just like any other new student.

“You know these students are thrown into the midst of everyone else, and sort of have no avenue, so we all wanted to do something to help them,” Hecker said.

One of the ways that the program has helped transfer students is holding a breakfast meeting for the students, as a way for them to introduce themselves, interact and get to know each other. The meeting also gave the Link Crew leaders a chance to share all of South’s clubs, sports, traditions and the everyday customs.

“My favorite experience has been spirit week, I really like the themes and the celebrations, and I’m really looking forward to homecoming,” Neumen said. 

According to Hecker, the best way to help out a student is giving them an opportunity to open up in an environment of people who want to help you. The transfer student program has taken this idea and explored many different ways to make each student feel as welcomed and adjusted to their school year at South as possible. 

“I think maybe the best way to interact with the students is to connect with them in a way that makes them feel welcomed, rather than letting them try to figure out the year ahead of them by themselves,” Hecker said.

According to both Hecker and Musicki, the best part about the program is that it is completely student driven, making the program that much more meaningful for other students, who know that there are students and staff looking out for them.

“I feel like we’re truly making the school a better place by doing this one thing that nobody has really thought about before,” Musicki said. “I feel that were making a significant difference.”