Transfer Student Emma Hinchliffe Adjusts to Red Lion Midway Through Senior Year
Red Lion Launches Incoming Student Initiation Program
It’s senior year, and you’re excited to spend the last months of high school with your friends before you go off to college. Then, your dad gets an irrefutable job near your family, and your whole life is uprooted. This is precisely the situation one student found herself in this year.
“I was already mentally preparing myself for college,” Emma Hinchliffe said before moving to Pennsylvania. “I was not ready for me to do that senior year.”
While living in Ohio, her parents dreamed of living closer to their family in New Jersey, so her father searched for a job in this area for years.
“They made jokes like that all the time,” Hinchliffe said. “And then this time, it was actually real.”
The job and location was perfect for what her family wanted, so her family jumped on the opportunity. Hinchliffe said, “He got the job and he took it right away.”
Before her senior year, Hinchliffe’s parents broke the news to her. “My dad told us a week before we went on vacation in the middle of the Summer,” Hinchliffe said.
Excited about the freedom that comes with senior year, Hinchliffe made plans with her friends to go to prom and partake in other senior-only activities.
Before moving to Pennsylvania, Hinchliffe spent the remaining Summer months making memories with her Ohioan friends. She stays in contact with them through Google Duo calls and texting.
“We’re starting to grow up now. I was finally able to do more stuff with my friends,” Hinchliffe said. “We had all these plans to go and do things together, and I did not imagine in the slightest that I’d be up and moving to Pennsylvania.”
Staying in contact with her old friends and building new connections at Red Lion, Hinchliffe plans to return to her school in early May.
“Since their prom is at the end of May and ours is at the beginning,” Hinchliffe said, “I’m trying to convince my parents to let me come back for prom.”
Making friends in the middle of senior year was initially difficult for Hinchliffe because she was only in classes.
Hinchcliffe is not alone as a new student to Red Lion. With a 20% increase in transfer students compared to the last four years, Red Lion launched a transfer student welcoming initiative.
“I meet with them. I check in with them,” Student Support Facilitator Dr. Jamie Malloy said. “I just make sure they have everything they need.”
All new high school students spend their first day shadowing a student council member to build a support system in Red Lion.
“They’ll follow them the whole first day and then the second day the student council member is still with them,” Assistant Principal Mr. Christopher Barry said, “but to help them navigate to buildings and get them to their classes.”
Mr. Barry hopes to put together a care package for incoming students that includes local business coupons, Red Lion spirit wear, and a list of all extra curricular activities.
Dr. Malloy also plans lunch groups for transfer students to meet each other and indulge in Red Lion culture. Each Friday, transfer students have the opportunity to meet and build a support system with people going through a similar situation. “It’s a group for new students where they can meet other new students,” Mr. Barry said.
Dr. Malloy and Mr. Barry both received positive feedback about the transfer student initiation changes.
“Anecdotally, the students that have moved in have appreciated it,” Dr. Malloy said. “A lot of students who come to us have transferred schools more than one time, and this doesn’t seem to happen in other districts.”
Emma Hinchliffe’s move to Red Lion was initially intimidating, but after joining extra-curricular activities, she quickly met new people and built connections.
“It’s not like anyone was mean. It’s just they’ve got their friends,” Hinchliffe said. “It was difficult when I wasn’t doing anything outside of the normal school day, but once I got into musical, everyone was very friendly there.”
Hinchliffe also had to adjust to Red Lion’s schedule after attending a nontraditional vocational school for animal care in Ohio. At the vocational school, Hinchliffe had four periods in the morning and then a two hour lab where she could focus on animal care before going to college for veterinary studies.
“I went from having that kind of school to going back to a more traditional high school that is a lot bigger.”
This isn’t the first time Hinchliffe moved. Initially from New Jersey, Hinchliffe and her family moved to Ohio when she was in fifth grade. Hinchfliffe said making friends was easier for her when she moved the first time because of her age. “I was a lot younger then, so I think I adjusted easier.”
Despite being a senior, Hinchliffe said the transition went smoother than she expected.
While meeting new people and applying to colleges, Hinchliffe is glad to have friends in both Pennsylvania and Ohio. “Honestly, I think it went better than I hoped. I was terrified to just start all over again.”
By Shana Carey