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Easing School Transitions for Military Families
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MCEC’s Student 2 Student Initiative . . . Leaders in the Making!

04/25/2013 Published by: Suzanne

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Categories: Your Child's Ages & Stages, Student 2 Student Programs Worldwide, Transition to College, Special Topics

Picture this . . . an auditorium full of adult educators, administrators and other leaders in the field of education.  Standing at the podium in front of this assembly is a high school student, and they have the full and complete attention of their audience.  Why?  Because they are a member of their high school Student 2 Student program and they have a voice in the Military Child Education Coalition’s (MCEC)® efforts to ease the transitions of military-connected students.  Student after student is given an opportunity to share about a “defining moment” in their experience as a Student 2 Student member . . .

Student 2 Student Defining Moments . . .

One student feels compelled to cheer on others who must move and are new to their high school after realizing how many people out there are working to lift up military-connected transitioning students. 

Another was inspired when his own efforts to guide a non-English speaking student around school resulted in several other students coming to the new student’s aid . . . even after the Student 2 Student member was no longer there to set the example!

Yet another member saw how his own efforts to keep his family life as normal as possible while their dad was deployed resulted in his own leadership development . . . not only at home but in school, sports and other extra-curricular activities.

Finally, a student who is quick to think of a new girl she recently guided around school only to discover that this student’s greatest fear was where to sit at lunch.  This new student now sits with the Student 2 Student guide and her friends.

What is Student 2 Student?

MCEC’s Student 2 Student Initiative “trains civilian and military-connected high school students to establish and sustain peer-based programs in their schools to support mobile children as they transition to and from the school.”  What does this involve on a day-to-day basis?  Trained Student 2 Student members are paired with incoming military-connected high school students in order to guide them through the logistics of their new school environment and to help them get connected in a positive way so they become comfortable in their new school home.  They do this by helping new students find their classes, providing a welcoming group to sit with at lunch and suggesting extracurricular activities that appeal to them.  These behaviors create a positive example for how ALL students can and should treat newcomers!

How does Student 2 Student encourage leadership development?

The Student 2 Student initiative involves developing student trainers who are capable of returning to their home campus to train peers in what they have just learned about providing support to transitioning students.   Their involvement shows them how they can be a positive voice and example for change.  Participation can lead to other opportunities such as attending MCEC’s National Training Seminar held each summer where they can develop their speaking skills by sharing their “defining moments” as described above, or selection for the Frances Hesselbein Student Leadership Program.  In the leadership journey, these Student 2 Student participants have a leg up in that by “taking a stand” (getting involved in welcoming and acclimating new military-connected students) they are” taking a lead” in something.

These are all examples of how Student 2 Student members have benefited from this program and then been moved to treat others with compassion and respect . . . and how they have become leaders in their schools by doing so.

Where can I get more information?

Visit the MCEC® web site to find more information regarding the Student 2 Student initiative, see a list of schools that have this program in place, and read more “defining moments”.

*Due to the success of this high school level program, MCEC® has also established the Junior Student 2 Student program at the middle school level.

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