Illustration by Sophia Galvan
The Tribe Tribune interviewed four students who transferred from other schools to Fullerton this year. What’s interesting about these students is that they’re all seniors. We wanted to know why students would want to make such a huge change with only a year left in high school. Wouldn’t they miss their friends? Wouldn’t they be nervous about a new campus?
What we found in our interviews is that these students weren’t necessarily running away from their old schools. Instead, they were running toward Fullerton High School—a place where they felt they would be welcomed.
The other thing that surprised us was that none of these students have regrets. They all said that the combination of teachers, students and especially counselors has made the move positive.
Teachers are flexible
Senior Makayla Kazerooni says Fullerton teachers are nice: “They’re more involved with their students. At other schools, teachers have their schedule that they follow, like I want to get this and this done by this time and we have a test then. But the teachers here, they really adapt with their students and work on their schedule and make sure they’re understanding the homework. All of my teachers are super involved with their students, like with talking and communicating, and my grades are already better, too.”
Students are friendly
Senior McKenzie Sinclair says that Fullerton High School is welcoming: “A lot of people are very friendly and open to help you with, you know, walking around the school, helping me get to classes, just being able to work with them is easy.”
Senior Alexia Ontiveros agrees: “Once I got into the classes I met people right away that I didn’t even know. Like everyone was so welcoming and so friendly over here. People asked for my social media. I guess they thought I didn’t know anyone, so they’re like ‘oh yeah, if you don’t have anyone to hangout with, like you can always hangout with me’.”
Senior Isabella Juarez says she’s felt accepted: “Also it’s easy to talk to people in your classes, like everybody is really social with everyone. There hasn’t really been anyone who’s judgy, not like at [my other school] where everyone was more secluded and split up in their own groups and they didn’t merge at all.”
Counselors are caring
Alexia says she was pressured at her other school to take classes she didn’t want even when they weren’t necessary for graduation: “I was struggling to get my classes last year, but when I came over here and I was like ‘Okay I want to take this, this and that’ and right off the bat my counselor was like ‘Okay, we can put you in all of those’.”
Isabella says the counselors at Fullerton make time for students: “At my other school, I would go and try to see my counselor and talk things out with her when I was having a tough time and she would just tell me to go back to class. When I would finally see her, my counselor made me feel like I was being judged. Like, she only cared about my grades. It was like ‘oh if you’re doing good in your classes then everything’s fine.’But I’ve had such a different experience here. Like all the counselors, they’re so nice and especially my counselor, too. She’ll let me be in there if that’s what I need and she’ll help me. So it’s really great the way they handle things here.”
Thank you, Fullerton
This story was harder to write than it looks. We have pages and pages of transcription notes we decided not to publish. We’re so grateful that our interviewees were willing to really open up and share so many details, but we felt that it was maybe better to keep some of their personal stories private. We also didn’t want to criticize other schools. We understand that being a counselor is tough at any school. But we also want to thank our FUHS counselors for treating students as humans rather than as walking transcripts or GPAs.
We know that things at Fullerton aren’t perfect. Coming back to school after more than a year of distance learning has been rough. But our small investigation into transfer students shows that at least most school officials are trying their best. And we all need to celebrate everyone who makes others feel welcome.