In- and Out-of-District Students Jell at Nonnewaug


Kyle Brennan

Nonnewaug juniors Michaela Pellino, left, and Alyssa Hodges prove that out-of-district and in-district students often become friends in no time.

Jano Nakhla, Reporter

WOODBURY — Nonnewaug High School is a place where many kids can feel welcome. The students here are always given the opportunity to learn and explore their passions and interests. These opportunities are available to both in-district and out-of-district students.

Students come from many towns in Connecticut to be a part of Nonnewaug’s well-known agriscience program. Out-of-district students are coming to a brand-new school where they don’t know anybody. Have the in- and out-of-district students built a positive relationship over the years?

“I think we’re all pretty equal,” in-district junior Michaela Pellino commented. “We [in-district students] like to be friends with everyone.”

Out-of-district junior Alyssa Hodges talks about her experience as a freshman who didn’t know anyone. 

“I was pretty nervous at first, but once you start going to classes and meeting new people, you make friends easily,” said Hodges, an Oxford resident. “Once you get here, you do find groups of people who accept you.” 

The two juniors then talked about what both of their sides can do to make each other feel welcome.

“In-district kids can make others feel welcome by reaching out and talking to people. It’s not as hard as it seems,” Pellino remarked. “Even in classes, just make sure to be kind to everyone.”

Hodges added, “For out-of-district kids, be yourself. You’re always going to find somebody who has similar interests, and you can always make friends, whether it’s through classes or after-school activities. As long as you get involved, you’ll find your people.”

“Definitely reach out and join clubs. Clubs are a big one. And sports, too, because it’s a mixture of everyone, both in- and out-of-district,” said Pellino.

Pellino and Hodges are both upperclassmen who have been through the process of welcoming and making new friends before, but what are the thoughts of those that have only just begun?

“On the first day of school, I would say that I was nervous but also excited,” said Emma DeFrancesco, an out-of-district freshman. “The orientation that we had before school started relieved some of my worries about finding my classes around the school and meeting new people.”

“For the most part, the in-district kids have made me feel welcome,” DeFrancesco went on to say. “I think it’s hard for them to make other friends from different towns sometimes because they have gone to school together for a long time, which is understandable. But nonetheless, I have never felt excluded from anything.”

She shared her speculations on friendships between in and out of district kids. 

“There are some mixes of in- and out-of-district kids [within friend groups], but not a large amount,” DeFrancseco said. “I think it’s easier for the out-of-district kids to become friends with each other because we are all part of the FFA and see each other at the meetings and events for it. We all feel new and are in a different school with not a lot of friends, so we seem to relate to each other more.”

As an ag kid, you tend to stick with ag kids, but in-district kids don’t treat you any differently,” Hodges agreed.

The three girls all came to the conclusion that kids at this high school can come from anywhere, but they won’t be treated differently, proving that no such hierarchy between in- and out-of-district kids exists.

Here at Nonnewaug, everyone is set up for success and building positive relationships along the way.