New kids on the block

Exchange student Tony Paquet Skype’s outside of the Yolo County Library while waiting for his host family to pick him up. Paquet uses Skype to keep in contact with his friends and family back in Belgium.
Exchange student Tony Paquet Skype’s outside of the Yolo County Library while waiting for his host family to pick him up. Paquet uses Skype to keep in contact with his friends and family back in Belgium.

By Zoe Juanitas,

HUB Correspondent–

A student takes his first step onto the Davis High campus and skims over the map in his hands, coming to terms with the foreign layout. Across the globe, an exchange student prepares for a 24-hour flight to America: his new home for the year. Elsewhere, a boy anxiously awaits the return to his childhood town.

These people, all with very different backgrounds share one thing in common: they all began the school year as new students in Davis.

Finding out that you have to leave behind your friends and familiar surroundings can be shocking, scary and even exciting. Alex Arnheiter, Jackson Herget, Tony Paquet and Brian Song know these feelings well.

“Any move is pretty big,” a sophomore Herget said. He moved from Oklahoma in early October. “I was pretty surprised and anxious.”

Herget is somewhat of a moving veteran. He has lived in six different places, ranging from Idaho Falls to Chugiak in Alaska. He was actually born in Davis but moved away when he was very young.

“The longest I’ve been is a year and a half in a place, or two years,” Herget said.

DHS is a big change in scenery for him, especially with its outdoor campus and “go along with the flow” attitude.

Sophomore Song feels similarly. “It feels kind of hippie and really laid-back,” he said.

Song moved from Atlanta after his dad got a job at UC Davis. His first day of school after the move was just like any new students’. “It was kind of like the first day of kindergarten. I didn’t really know anybody,” Song said.

Many new students join sport teams or clubs to meet different people and expand their friend groups. Song ran on the DHS cross-country team in the fall and ended up finding a new group of friends in the process.

“When you start running with the same group of guys, you start becoming friends with them and it’s something you look forward to everyday,” Song said.

Paquet, an exchange student from Belgium, also decided to join the cross-country team after he missed the high school soccer tryouts.

Paquet is from the French-speaking city of Liège and decided to come to America to improve his English.

His trip to Davis was anything but peaceful. He took four different planes, spent more than 24-hours in the air and ended up missing one of his flights. “I was stressed but finally I found another plane and I arrived on time in Sacramento,” Paquet said.

He now goes to Da Vinci, and said that even though he has made a lot of good friends in Davis, he is also afraid of losing some of his old ones back in Belgium.

That’s also the biggest downside of moving for junior Arnheiter.

Arnheiter moved in June from West Hartford in Connecticut, where he attended an all-boys boarding school.

Although DHS is a very different environment compared to his last school, Arnheiter did not have a very hard time adjusting. He said, “They’re [co-ed and single gender schools] the same once you get used to it.”

Connolly, who is a junior at Jesuit High School in Carmichael, said that the benefits of going to an all-boys school are that there are not as many social pressures and no drama. He added, “There is also a much more relaxed environment between the students and even faculty.”

Arnheiter described how at his old school “the teachers would take you out to breakfast. That was kind of fun.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 40 million people move each year. Out of those, about 1.3 million people move to a different country, just like Paquet. About 7.6 million move to a different state, like Arnheiter, Herget and Song.

Song believes that people should be exposed to change more often rather than living in the same place their whole life.

Moving is like a “fresh slate. You can be whoever you want to be,” Arnheiter said.

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