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Enquirer photo/Lauren Jackson New students at Hartselle High mingle over breakfast Aug. 29.

HHS welcomes diverse group of new students

More than 40 new students were welcomed during a new student breakfast Aug. 29. The students hail from as near as neighboring counties to as far away as Southern California and Ukraine – and all were able to meet during the breakfast. 

Guidance counselors at Hartselle High came up with the idea for the event after enrolling a larger-than-normal group of new students. Dana Gladden, one of the Hartselle High guidance counselors, said they have done similar things in the past but wanted to have the breakfast since there were so many new students. 

“We have buddied our ambassadors with new students before, but there were so many this year that we decided the breakfast would be better, and I think we had a great turnout,” Gladden said. 

Jordan LyBrand, another guidance counselor at the high school, agreed the breakfast was a great way to help the new students get to know each other. “This is one of the most diverse groups of students that we probably have ever had in a group of new students,” LyBrand said. “We have lots that just don’t know about Hartselle.” 

LyBrand said the timing of the breakfast was good, as well. “We had given them a couple weeks to adjust.” 

Janaye Mitchell is a new student at the high school from Chattanooga. She said the breakfast was a great idea to help make the students feel at home. 

“It is just a very welcoming thing; it was a great idea,” Mitchell said. 

Sonya Klymemko is a foreign exchange student from Ukraine. She said the breakfast helped make the transition easier for her. 

“I have found a lot of friends here. It’s been really easy to adjust, and I wasn’t expecting that,” Klymemko said. 

Cory Wilbanks, another of the guidance counselors who helped plan the breakfast, said she felt it was something they will continue next year to allow new students to meet. 

“I think being able to meet each other and see they are not the only new person here is good. They can make some connections and friendships. 

“I think it is something we have to do now; they were all smiling, and they were really excited that people were here for them.”