MCHS student council organizes new student welcoming program |

MCHS student council organizes new student welcoming program

Joseph Callahan, a junior at Moffat County High School, is a newcomer to Craig.

“It’s a lot better than my last town,” Callahan said of his new surroundings. “My last town was kind of dumb.”

Callahan moved to Craig with his family last summer from Idaho. He was a new student to MCHS when classes began in August.

This year, 38 new students enrolled at MCHS. Unlike previous years, this batch of newcomers was greeted by a welcoming committee, part of the newly formed Linking Everyone Together.

Student council president Slade Gurr said the committee has resolved to offer each new student a welcome packet upon arrival and host luncheons for new students once every quarter.

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“We’ve put together a care package,” Gurr said. “It includes all kinds of information on the surrounding area, activities (newcomers) can do with their family and all the different clubs the school offers.

“We try to gather as much information that would be useful to a new student in our district.”

Junior class president Kirstie McPherson agreed.

“It’s full of fun things to make (newcomers) feel they’re actually wanted here,” she said. “And, it’s so they’re not completely lost when they’re walking around town, like ‘Oh, where the heck do I go?’”

MCHS counselor Delaine Brown said Craig and Moffat County industries bring many new families to the community every year.

“We probably see somewhere between 40 and 60 new students,” she said.

Brown said the welcoming committee is one facet of Linking Everyone Together, which was formed last school year during the fourth quarter.

The team is focused on outreach in three areas: new students, students experiencing extended illnesses and students experiencing the loss of a loved one.

Gurr said Linking Everyone Together was modeled after a similar program at Green Mountain High School in Lakewood.

“We were really inspired to do something like that at our school because we’ve had issues with suicides,” Gurr said. “And, bullying has kind of gotten out of hand at our school.”

Gurr said the fledgling group is taking shape as the school year progresses.

“This year, we’re really starting to focus on groups that feel that they’re not attached to the school anymore, or could possibly be bullied or are the targets of bullies,” he said.

That includes new students, Gurr said.

Callahan, who has attended a number of different schools over the years, said he has strategies for dealing with new environments.

“If you don’t say much, people won’t pick on you much. That’s what I’ve found,” he said.

Callahan attended the welcoming committee’s first luncheon last month.

“It was kind of nice to have the welcoming party,” he said. “It was interesting to know how many new people there are in the area.”

McPherson, who leads the welcoming committee, said the first luncheon was a success.

“It was a big hit,” she said.

McPherson said the goal is to be present for the arrival of each new student.

“I try to be one of the first people they see when they walk in the building,” she said. “It’s either me or someone else on the committee. We have a really good committee set up, and a multitude of us show people around on the first day of school.

“It’s a really great program, in my opinion.”

Callahan said he feels at home in his new school.

“It’s worked out pretty good, so far,” he said. “I’m hoping I can be here next year.”

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