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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

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Anchors Help New Students Stay Afloat

Nonnewaug juniors, from left, Ava Parks, Arabella Rosa, and Emma Jackson are all Anchors in the Harbor Program, a group of students who help new students feel welcome on campus. (Courtesy of the Harbor Program)

WOODBURY – Every Wednesday, students notice familiar blue sweatshirts in the hallways of Nonnewaug. They read, “The Harbor Program: We’ll Be Your Anchor.”

What significance could Anchors and a Harbor Program have to an agricultural school? There may be more meaning than one would think.

“Every other week we go to [freshman] advisories, do activities with them, and try to get them more welcomed to the school environment,” said Lily Kiernan, an NHS junior in the Harbor Program. 

Anchors are individuals who applied to the Harbor Program before summer vacation and were accepted into the role. There is one training day before summer and freshman orientation comes soon enough in August.

“I think it’s just helping people feel more comfortable,” Kiernan continued. “Especially at lunch, [if] there’s a kid sitting alone, you go over and invite them over to sit with us.”

Freshman Ava Hirleman agrees that the Anchors make her feel more included at Nonnewaug.

Sophomore Anchor Addison Neilson, right, leads a discussion in Kyle Brennan’s freshman advisory. (Courtesy of the Harbor Program)

“In the beginning of the year when I came in for the orientation, they kind of helped make it feel less nerve-racking and they were really welcoming,” Hirleman stated.

Anchors help make a difference after school hours as well.

“We do activities like eighth-grade open house, freshman orientation, guide them around, and make sure that they’re overall feeling the high school experience,” Kiernan explained.

“They made me feel very comfortable for orientation when we were doing the activities in the gym,” Hirleman added. “It just felt less nerve-racking and they were helpful.”

It’s not too early for freshmen to start thinking about if they would like to be Anchors in the future years of their Nonnewaug experience.

“I think it’s really fun, and I think I might want to try when I’m older,” Hirleman said. “I was in Alliance last year, which is like a student council for middle school, so it was kind of like this and I kind of want to do it again.”

About the Contributor
Emma DeFrancesco '25
Emma DeFrancesco is a junior at Nonnewaug High School and writes for the NHS Chief Advocate as a reporter. She is from Watertown and has a dog and horse as pets. She has been riding her horse for about four years and competes in local fairs. She is also in the Leo Club and plays basketball. She enjoys writing about events in the community and her general interests. Emma is not in journalism classes this year but is writing for the Chief Advocate in her spare time.
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