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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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From right to left; Kaylee Jackson, Arabella Rosa, Christopher Pelletier, Lana Manganello, and Karisa Cizauskas setting up their new saltwater aquariums and learning how to control their coral lighting.
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Czerepacha: Friendships That Unexpectedly Start From a Sport

NHS+athletics+provides+an+opportunity+to+creative+relationships+for+students.+Considering+the+large+percentage+of+out-of-district+students%2C+these+athletic+experiences+are+especially+crucial.+%28Christian+Widell%2FUnsplash%29
NHS athletics provides an opportunity to creative relationships for students. Considering the large percentage of out-of-district students, these athletic experiences are especially crucial. (Christian Widell/Unsplash)

Friendships start in many different ways, but most forget how they became friends in the first place. Most start from just sitting next to a person, then magically, months later you can consider one another as close friends. Other friendships happen through after school activities, either from a sport or a club. 

I grew up as the kid who didn’t want to talk to people. Whenever people said, “Go talk to your peers,” or, “Why don’t you talk to your teammates?”, it’s just because I’d just never thought to go up to people and talk. It takes confidence — and sports can provide that. 

But as I got older, I started to talk more, and now I can say that a lot of my good friends did come from a sport. All because I decided to talk. 

Was I surprised that they came from a sport? 

Kind of. 

But am I glad they did? 

Yes, yes I am.

And for most, the same thing happened to them as well. 

“Surprisingly, most of my friends started from a sport,” said junior Brooke Bernardi. “It just kinda happened over time. The more everyone saw one another, the more it clicked.” 

Having a friend on a team is nice; you have someone to talk to at practices and on bus rides to games.

It’s also good for the social aspect as well. Here at Nonnewaug we always say, “Pride in the Tribe.” Nonnewaug is known to be a school that has pride in their athletics. So by joining a team you’ll always find a group to fit in.

“I know how our kids do here when they start feeling a part of a family and belonging to something,” said Nonnewaug athletic director Declan Curtin. “And for me, it’s important that we purposely planned to bring those kids in and treat them very well the first couple weeks all around campus.” 

But it’s not easy for all players. There can be many different reasons why it can be harder for people to fit in. 

Some are just entering their high school career, while others may transfer or start a year later. 

“One of my things at Nonnewaug that I always stress about is the summer before ninth grade,” says Curtin. “When I think about all of these young kids that are coming from different schools and communities, I often say, ‘What’s the answer?’, and the answer to me is athletics.”

Even seniors reminisce on the day they just entered high school. Senior Gianna Lodice, who is a out-of-district student, looks back on how her transition from middle to high school was easier than expected.

Senior Gianna Lodice and junior Ellie McDonald capture the last moments of soccer together on Senior Night. Even though they have only known each other for a short time, their friendship has grown tremendously through sports like soccer and track. (Courtesy of Noreen Chung)

“Having sports as soon as I came to Nonnewaug as an out-of-district student allowed me to have a group of people I knew right off the bat, which definitely made my transition as a freshman so much easier,” said Lodice. “While it was hard in some aspects because people from Woodbury already knew each other, my experience was a very welcoming and positive one for sure.” 

In some cases most people grew up playing a sport since they were young. Over time they just naturally became friends with their teammates. 

But for someone new who either just transferred schools, moved, or is just joining a sport that they never thought of, it can cause a lot of pressure to go out of their comfort zone. 

Not only by joining a new sport that you have no idea what to do, just talking to other people is even worse. 

Even for people who are new to joining a sport, how could it affect them?

Junior Grace Schmidheini, who joined the track team for the first time this year, doesn’t think the newness of the sport will bother her too much. 

“I think that I will be okay because the track team is very supportive of each other. It also helps seeing as I already have friends on the team that have been on the team before,” says Schmidheini. “I think that I will be okay with making friends, but I also think that I will be closer to the throwers. I want to throw in the field events, so I will spend most of my time with the throwers but overall I’m really excited, and can’t wait to grow close with many people.”

This is the opinion of Chief Advocate reporter Savannah Czerepacha, a three-sport athlete at Nonnewaug.

About the Contributor
Savannah Czerepacha '25
Savannah Czerepacha is a junior and a first-year writer for the Chief Advocate. She is a part of the ag program and is studying aquaculture. She plays for the NHS soccer and basketball teams. She also has a pet pig named Lightning. When she graduates, she wants to go to college to study animal sciences.
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