New Students Supported Through Wednesday Breakfast Program

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Anah Khan

Because [it is tough for students] coming from other school districts to Beachwood, [it is important for them to] see they’re not the only kid in that situation, and it’s important that they stay on top of their grades,” said new student coordinator Cinderella Gray.

On the morning of Sept. 15, BHS English teachers gathered in the Bistro and introduced themselves to new students. 

Students and staff members sat laughing and discussing classes over bagels and fruit. 

The breakfast was part of the New Student Program, a Wednesday morning meeting in which students new to the building enjoy a free breakfast and have the opportunity to get to know staff members.

A few years ago, English teacher Dr. Casey Matthews, Directory of Equity & Engagement Kevin Houchins and guidance counselor Meghann Sullivan organized the program for new students to get to know Beachwood. 

“New students struggle immensely,” Matthews said. “We wanted to create a space where we bring all these new students together so that they have that shared experience.” 

The program was not run last year because of COVID, but Cinderella Gray, who is the new student coordinator this year, is happy to get it off the ground again. 

“Because [it is tough for students] coming from other school districts to Beachwood, [it is important for them to] see they’re not the only kid in that situation, and it’s important that they stay on top of their grades,” she said.

Anna Zhao, a new sophomore this year, explains the benefits of the program.

“It is a place where…you get to meet people you’re supposed to know, like [Athletic Director Ryan] Peters and the librarians,” she said.

I think the program is so inclusive, it’s insane,”

— Junior Emma Haag

Each meeting is dedicated to introducing a different group of staff members. For example, one day, the students met all the English teachers, and another, they met the tech teachers. 

Nicole Majercak, who teaches 9th and 11th grade English, believes that the program gives students an opportunity to connect with teachers personally and discuss things possibly unrelated to schoolwork. 

“I think of it as a place where students can meet with teachers in a non-formal setting,” Majercak said. ”It’s so that they get to know that I’m a person.” 

Students in the program agree. The Bistro’s ambient lighting and friendly atmosphere can also be beneficial to students. 

Emma Haag, a transferred junior, says that her previous school didn’t have adequate support for kids in wheelchairs. She has found Beachwood to be more supportive.

“I asked for a lunch buddy, and got to talk to another kid in a wheelchair, which is great,” she said.

“I think the program is so inclusive, it’s insane,” Haag said, grinning.

New students Myon Mitchell and Griffin Doughty chat after their Wednesday breakfast. Photo by Elijah Kriwinsky.
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