Students reflect transfer, accepting environment

Photos of Preeti Patel (left) and Kelly Tite (right).

Photos by Sean Dolan

Photos of Preeti Patel (left) and Kelly Tite (right).

Eliza Schloss, staff reporter

Welcoming. That is one word freshman Kelly Tite, who transferred to South in early January, used to describe South’s student body on her first day. South is home to transfer students who must acclimate to the new school and the changes that occur with their transition.

According to Tite, the moment she started South, the students were nothing but kind to her and willing to help her navigate her classes. In addition to the kindness portrayed by students, Tite says the teachers were also eager to help her.

“The teachers were very nice as well, way nicer then the teachers I had before,” Tite said. “They all asked me where I was from, what I learned so far and introduced me to the class, which was very respectful and nice of them to do.”

According to Randall McGraw, South guidance counselor, he always speaks with incoming transfer students before their integration into South. McGraw notices existing students’ enthusiasm toward these new students.

“I had a student come in about a month ago and I walked out into the entryway of Guidance and said we have a new student, and all five students around there jumped up, said hello and welcomed her in,” McGraw said. “She stayed there and they took her to lunch; it was really awesome.”

In addition to Illinois, South is home to students from 16 different states across the nation and 13 different countries. Current senior Preeti Patel transferred to South during her junior year from Mississippi. Before moving to Mississippi, Patel lived in India where she attended a boarding school and was taught how to speak English.

“The [way we learned] English was […] different,” Patel said. “The way you pronounce words was different. I wouldn’t talk to anyone, and I was always scared of other people. It took me about two months to get to know people.”

Junior Antonio Duca also transferred to South this school year. Outside of school, Duca sings and has even starred in the show Empire. Coming into South, many students didn’t know about Duca’s success outside of school.

“My intentions of going into [South] was not to say anything [about being on TV],” Duca said. “I just wanted to make real friends first because then of course people came up to me. I am glad because I met a lot of people…They are really nice to me.”

Tite feels that at her old high school, Maine East, students wouldn’t have treated transfer students as kindly and helpful as they do at South.

“They wouldn’t talk to [transfer students] or introduce themselves,” Tite said. “It’s a total 180 from what happened here to me because people were so nice and so friendly and always asking to see my schedule.”