The many roads to Texas High

Students from dynamic backgrounds share their reasons for transferring


Photo by Cayli Clack and Kaitlyn Rogers

Photo Illustration

Story by Doug Kyles, staff writer

An overcrowded hallway or a chaotic cafeteria can make anyone anxious. And while true, to those coming from a school other than Texas Middle School these challenges are more difficult. Leaving from a school halfway around the world or from your own living room is sure to cause a culture shock, but time and time again, students feel it’s worth the adjustment to transfer to Texas High.

The reasons these students jump head-first out of their comfort zone and transfer to Texas High come as different as they are. Many are attracted by the diverse environment or long list of extracurriculars. For sophomore Julia Ryden, it was both.

“I was really hopeful because I knew there would be a lot more opportunities for extracurricular activities,” Ryden said. “At Red Lick, yes, there were some things but definitely not to the extent that Texas High has.”

Ryden had attended small-scale private schools and enjoyed a few years at Red Lick Middle School. While these schools were, physically, only miles away from Texas High, the experiences couldn’t be any more different.

“When it came to people, I knew there would be a lot of people, but I thought it would be very lonely at first. [I thought] there’s so many people that you can’t really find your people,” Ryden said. “But, in reality, people actually came to you and it was really cool.”

Growing up in an environment where most people look, act, and believe the same was the usual for Ryden. While still remembering her years at Red Lick and previous Christian schools fondly, Ryden found the diversity at her new school refreshing.

“[At Red Lick] the class of eighth grade had, at most, 60 kids. They were very close-minded. It felt very secluded in comparison to public schools,” Ryden said. “Here, there are so many types of people that if you are different in any way, there is someone out there that is exactly like you.”

Extracurriculars, like the band program or athletics often attract students from other school districts and Ryden was no exception; these programs and more led to her to come to Texas High.

“I’ve always been interested in computers;  the computer science course, I heard was very good. It really interest me and that made me really want to come here” Ryden said. “And since all my brothers were also in band, that was a big motivator for me to want to go to Texas High.”

Extracurriculars like band, often come with a new set of friends, and for those just arriving like Ryden, familiar faces soften the blow of moving to a new school.

“[My favorite part of Texas High] is probably the close knit families you create whenever you’re in these extracurricular activities,” Ryden said. “Like in band, if one person is sick, everyone knows you are sick and everyone sends you a text message saying ‘I hope you get better.’ It is just a fun loving family; it is still close knit.”

Texas High has attracted students from a dynamic set of schools, boasting those from just a few miles away to a different continent. One of these unlikely Tigers is Nils Sehweizer who arrived from Germany this year as an exchange student. As Nils expected, the first few weeks at Texas High were nothing like Germany.

“In Germany, school is very different, but still high school. It is a lot less being proud to attend this school, and not any other school,” Sehweizer said. “Also, we have not nearly as many electives. The first time we get to choose electives is as a sophomore.”

Sehweizer enjoys many of the changes that come with his new school, especially how student-teacher relationships are completely different than Germany.

“The difference in the teacher to student connection between Germany and here is great,” Sehweizer said. “I would describe the connection between the teacher and student as more of a friend relationship. But it’s different, and it’s not something I’m used to in Germany.”

Sehweizer was also pleasantly surprised by the hospitality of strangers.According to Sehweizer, the attitudes of people here make a huge difference when first attending Texas High, especially as a foreigner.

“If you have any questions, you can talk to anyone basically,” Sehweizer said. “[In Germany] a question asked to a stranger would probably just get you a weird look. Here, I find that to be less of a problem.”

Texas High can be a chaotic environment, one that most would assume is nothing like homeschool. Even with both in Texarkana, these two forms of learning could not be more different. 

Sophomore Dylan Avard came to Texas High this year after being homeschooled for many years. What awaited him was an environment completely unlike any before.

“I always did math and such, but there was a whole lot of reading poetry and good literature,” Avard said. “I did do a lot of what I enjoyed. Studying and those sort of things piqued my interest. My parents, they knew a lot of things and tried to pass it on to me.”

Before the first few weeks of school, Avard was basing his idea of Texas High off his previous experiences here, of which there were few. 

“[My previous impressions] were mostly good, as I’ve been on campus a few times. I even came to some club meetings before I matriculated as a student,” Avard said. “I knew it was a very big school so it was very easy to find an in group. I heard it really had a good culture and so far it has stood up to that.”

 For those changing their school setting like Avard, the first few weeks of figuring out the campus and learning hundreds of new faces is sure to be difficult. To help with these challenges, Avard already became very involved in clubs and classes. 

“Well, I’m in the play, and that’s really fun. I’m really enjoying the social elements: talking, hanging out and meeting new people,” Avard said. “Piano, debate and world history, those are great.” 

While the social element of Texas High came quickly to Avard, he was less thrilled with the amount of work his classes here can give. Also consider his extracurriculars, and school for Avard quickly becomes more intensive than learning at home.

“My first few weeks were tiring and a little bit stressful. Being that I had not been in school since second grade, I definitely had to learn the ropes,” Avard said. “It has just been kind of a whirl-wind, but I’ve managed and am in the swing of things now.”