New for You Club provides support for new students

Nolan Canfield and Dylan Emberton

Luci Sendelbach, Staff Writer

Junior Damaris Casillas said her first day at CG was “very scary and intimidating.” 

The record number of students this year was daunting for many people as the hallways filled that first day, but for students new to CG, like Casillas, it was particularly rough.

“Honestly I had second thoughts about starting at CG, but I knew it would just take me some time to get used to everything and everyone,” Casillas said. “The first couple days I didn’t have friends and I didn’t have anyone to sit with at lunch and that alone can be very uncomfortable because I didn’t know where I was allowed to sit or what time I had lunch.”

Casillas said she got through those first difficult days with the help of one teacher in particular, Jaime Lidy. 

“She would show me where my class was when I didn’t know. She even allowed me to sit in her classroom for lunch since I didn’t have anyone to sit with,” Casillas said. “She truly has been the most amazing, influential, and loving teacher I have ever met, and I’m so thankful for her.”

Now, Casillas hopes to create a way to build that kind of support for new students not only from teachers, but from students as well. Casillas worked with Guidance Counselor Jessica Gattuso to create New for You club.

“A new student may come in who does not know one single person in this building,” Gattuso said. “And through this club we can provide them with 25 people from the day they walk in with whom they may be able to build a lasting relationship.”

At the start of each semester, CG sees an influx of new students. Thanks to New for You, when they come, they will have someone to show them around, sit with them at lunch and to talk to.

 “We hope to connect those new students with people in the club so they know people in their classes and have someone to sit with at lunch, go to an event with, or just ask questions about how things work at CGHS,” Gattuso said.

Casillas hopes to expand the club in the future and continue to help strengthen student connections. One way she wants to do this is by sharing this idea so others can feel just as welcomed as they are at CG.

“Our future plans with this club are to expand our club, and I hope to inspire other schools to make a similar club to make new students more comfortable and welcomed at their school,” Casillas said.

Not only is New for You helping students new to the school, but it is providing students who are giving the tours a chance to grow their leadership skills.

“I think students who are involved in New for You will gain kindness, empathy, new perspectives, advocacy skills, strong communication and many other positive skills and attributes they can use in their future relationships and workplaces,” Gattuso said.

This new club is open to anyone who would like to join. While students will be gaining many new leadership qualities throughout this club, they should come in ready to help their peers.

“Anyone and everyone is welcome to join our club,” Casillas said. “We would like our members to be kind, inviting and helpful to new people. People should join our our club if they want to help people feel included at CG.”

This new club has provided opportunities for everyone, but especially for Casillas. 

“Helping start this club affected me in a very positive way. Helping others is something I’m very passionate about, so this club has made me feel like I have a purpose at CGHS,” Casillas said.

With the club’s 20-plus members, Gattuso hopes to create a welcoming support system for all new students.

“New students will join us all year long and we will be ready to support them. We hope to also host events throughout the year to continue checking in with our new students, helping them make connections with others, and ensuring their transition to CGHS has been a good one,” Gattuso said. “Being a teenager is hard. And being a teenager that changes schools halfway through a school year makes it even harder. I feel that this club is important because we can, hopefully, make things a little bit easier.”