Tenth grader Nathanuel and his family moved to Georgia from sunny, mild California in January. Before anything else, they had to adjust to the cool Georgia winters. Then came the task of getting Nathanuel integrated intot he sea of nearly 3,000 students at North Cobb High School.
Luckily, North Cobb’s Warrior 101 program is tailor-made for students like Nathanuel. New to the school and confused about simple things like where the media center or lunchroom is located, the Warrior 101 program helps new students like Nathanuel and his mom learn about the school and community in which they now live.
During the school year, North Cobb welcomes 15 to 20 new Warriors each month.
“We provide them an opportunity to meet all our counselors and administrators and talk about some of the programs we have to offer at North Cobb,” said Kiel Southwell, North Cobb Assistant Principal and Warrior 101 coordinator. “It is important to find a way for new students to feel welcomed and to become familiar with the campus.”
Nathanuel’s old school didn’t have anything like the Warriors’ welcome reception. His mother Sonya Long Padilla said her family underwent a weather shock when they moved from California to Georgia in January.
“It has been a struggle to adapt to the environment of Georgia coming from California, but I’ve really enjoyed [the move] because it is a whole new experience,” Nathanuel added.
To help their transition to the community, the Padillas were looking forward to learning about the opportunities at North Cobb during the Warrior 101 Program at the school January 31.
Nathanuel may be new to North Cobb, but he already thinks the Warrior atmosphere tops his old school.
“I feel I will have a better bond with these students and teachers,” Nathanuel said prior to the start of the information session.
Nathanuel and the other new students start to make those connections during the Warrior 101 session.
“We introduce them to each other,” Southwell explained. “We give them the opportunity to meet other students, who are also new, and maybe make a friend along the way. We also give them a chance to introduce themselves to us and talk about themselves, where they are from and what makes them special.”
The North Cobb counselors talk to the new students in small groups about who they are and what their plans are academically and career-wise.
North Cobb’s JROTC program caught the eyes of Nathanuel and his mom because his old school didn’t have a similar program available. They were also interested in learning about sports.
Nathanuel played football in California. The North Cobb athletic director’s address to the Warrior 101 students was an opportune time for Nathanuel to get more information about North Cobb’s football program. The information may help him decide if he wants to lace up his cleats as a Warrior next season.
Some students arrive at North Cobb from locations farther away than California. Southwell said the students come from as far away as the Middle East and South America to the Cobb County School District.
The parents tend to have the same questions.
“Most parents are concerned that their child will get lost, and so we tell them the different ways their student can get more involved,” said Southwell. “We have a lot of Advanced Placement courses. We have close to a 100 different clubs and organizations.”
The goal of the Warrior 101 program is for the new students to take advantage of diverse opportunities available at North Cobb so they find their niche inside the largest school in the Cobb County School District.
“Our motto is ‘we are orange’ and we want everyone to feel they are a part of that,” said Southwell.