The Student News Site of Tompkins High School

The Nestline

The Student News Site of Tompkins High School

The Nestline

The Student News Site of Tompkins High School

The Nestline

Falcons With Foreign Backgrounds


Freshman Jorja White walks stunned through the halls of Tompkins High School, marveling at the sheer size of the building. After living in a small town near London, England, for 12 years of her life, the massive school seemed like a maze of twisted hallways with no end. The transition for any student as a freshman can be daunting, but White was faced with the additional challenge of only having lived in America for about two years. Although the shift in her environment was overwhelming at first, White is excited to embrace her unique experience as a high school student in the United States.


“My experience over here is bigger in a way, because you have more opportunities to go through things. It is fun being here too, because people are nice here,” said White.


Similar to White, sophomore Tyrone Adebayo-Alabi is also embracing his high school experience after moving to the United States from Ireland when he was 11 years old. Coming from a small town, Adebayo-Alabi was also shocked by the large scope of towns and cities in Texas. The most notable difference for him was the change in environment from the green lands of Ireland to the industrial streets of Houston.


“Everything in Ireland is smaller. The schools are smaller and stores are smaller. Also, cities aren’t as big, and it’s a lot greener,” said Adebayo-Alabi.


Even though the shift in his surroundings was drastic, Adebayo-Alabi was able to grasp the changes in the education system more easily with the help of his brothers who had been living in the United States before he came over.


“It was just weird coming here, because the school is more complicated and bigger. When I first came here, even though it was in elementary school, I was still getting lost. I did have brothers over here though so that helped with the transition,” said Adebayo-Alabi.


Just as Adebayo-Alabi faced challenges transitioning into a new environment, White was faced with the obstacle of not only transitioning into a new area, but also into a unfamiliar education system. High school was not a part of the education system in England. Instead, students only attend primary and secondary school before going off the college, so she was unaccustomed to the idea of going to high school after the eighth grade. While the substantial change in the structure of the system was harder for White to grasp, she has adopted an optimistic attitude about her future in high school.


“My favorite thing right now is actually going to a high school, because they don’t have high school over in England. Being in a high school and watching the TV shows and movies about high schoolers is fun, because I am actually there to experience it,” said White.


Although both students have adjusted well to Tompkins and are prepared to take on the high school experience, they will always hold fond memories of the country that they called home for so many years.


“My favorite thing about living over there was how everything was local. You can walk everywhere, and you know a lot of people in your town, which is really cool,” said Adebayo-Alabi.


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