A Spotlight on the New Students

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Having to deal with challenges like quarantining, taking strict safety measures, and staying in lockdowns has redefined what school means to us. The new students at Marymount, who joined the school back in September, had an entirely different start to the school year compared to the rest of us. However, despite the endless sanitising and social distancing, the students and staff of the Marymount community are learning to collaborate more, motivate each other, and help the new students adapt to the school.

The Summer Barbecue, which was a big highlight of the school year that allowed all the new students to meet other students outside the classroom, was, unfortunately, cancelled to limit the spread of the virus. Giselle, a new Grade 10 student, explained, “ Since we are sectioned off into grade bubbles, I did not have a chance to get to know as many people from other grades. Also, I did not get to explore the campus as much, considering that all my classes are in one particular area of the school. However, everyone was extremely welcoming! Everything has gone smoothly so far, so there is nothing particularly challenging at the moment.”

There were a large number of safety measures that the entire school had to follow, ranging from wearing masks and staying socially distanced from other grades to regularly cleaning our desks before heading to the next lesson. A Grade 10 student explained that for some time, “ There were no extracurricular activities taking place and so it was much harder to get to know each other. Also, my main problem was the language but I adjusted quite fast. I really liked the welcoming atmosphere at Marymount and everyone was trying to help me.”

Later in the year, once students were allowed to stay after school, many after school activities and school events such as the weekly assemblies had to be adjusted to keep the community safe. When asked about the challenges she faced as a new student, Ela, an eighth grader, replied, “I sometimes forget the social distancing measures and forget to put on my mask in classes, but I’m glad that we’re all keeping each other safe by doing these things. It’s been a challenge to find all of the classes as well as making friends and meeting new people. But, I’ve made a lot of amazing friends and I have learnt about their cultures.”

One new Grade 9 student described that wearing masks for most of the day can sometimes feel uncomfortable, but she has really been enjoying the “after-school activities and study periods.” When asked about how the school community has helped her adapt, she replied, “It is helpful that the Student Council is there to help us voice our opinions and suggestions for us.”

When asked about her challenges at Marymount, Hana, a new grade 9 student, explained, “I can’t speak English well, so unable to speak well what I want to convey. However, I am able to make a lot of friends from my country.” Another ninth grader, Cé line, explained that her challenge was the language, but she added, “The Marymount girls are very nice and they help me with my english.”

Due to the obstacles posed by the pandemic, the experience for new students was more challenging than most years. However, the school community has been trying its best to welcome the students with open arms and help them adjust to the unusual circumstances comfortably. The bond that keeps the Marymount community together has shown to be a resilient one, and it will continue to do so as we enter another and hopefully the last lockdown.