Going from a class of 33 students into a class of 500 can be a bit challenging, but freshman Juan Cintron has found has groove at KPARK. Cintron is one of many transfer students from St. Martha Catholic School (SMCS)
“It’s already so much fun, and transferring here was totally worth it,” Cintron said.
Senior Abby Phillips also transferred three years ago hoping to find a tight-knit friend group similar to the one she had at St. Martha.
“The small family feel at St. Martha is what I really liked about it, and I believe that same tight-knit community is found at the Park,” Phillips said.
Counselor Kim Young has helped a number of St. Martha students make a smooth transition from private school to public school.
“The fact that these St. Martha kids have friends that already go here makes Kingwood Park seem like a great option for them,” Young said. “And word of mouth is a big key as to why these students apply to transfer to KPHS.”
The process to apply to be a transfer begins in April of the students’ eighth grade years when Young and fellow counselor Caren Barnes visit St. Martha. They hold a meeting for the students and their parents about class selection and requirements for graduation.
“What a lot of people don’t know is that these transfer kids are placed in a lottery and are picked at random, because we can only accept so many transfers,” Young explained.
St. Martha transfer students compete for a spot in the school with kids who attend Creekwood, Riverwood and others who don’t live inside the KPARK attendance zone. Once the students learn they are selected to transfer, the students register in July.
“Once SMCS students are here, we make sure to reach out to them, because we as counselors are here to provide resources to help make their transition smooth,” Young said.
Freshman Gabby Norman said she hopes to become more involved as the year progresses.
“Taking all AP/Pre-AP is a new challenge coming from St. Martha, but I hope to find time to get involved in Student Council and wrestling,” she said.
St. Martha students come in with a bit of a chip on their shoulder since it is their first year in public school, but this motivates them even more to find their way in high school.
“I learned to be my true self while at St. Martha, and that’s a value I want to keep as I continue in high school and in life,” Phillips said.
Even though St. Martha students enter a whole new environment at KPARK, Young says that these students are well prepared and are very respectful and genuine.
“We love St. Martha kids, they are so well behaved and always work hard, and are proud of the work they do.”
This story was originally published on Park Times on September 4, 2018.