When sophomore Sam Pokharel found out she would be transferring to a different school for the fifth time, she was hardly excited. She moved to Columbia in the eighth grade and spent her freshman year at Hickman High School (HHS). Moving was never a new thing for Pokharel; years of it seemed to make her life a never-ending jump from one city to another because of her dad’s job. But this time, she found out her family would be moving within the same city.
“Our family bought a house in the Rock Bridge district, and so I had to transfer to Rock Bridge over this [past] summer,” Pokharel said. “[But still], I was not excited at all to transfer to Rock Bridge. I was actually a little annoyed about [moving again].”
For Pokharel, the overall transition from HHS to RBHS was not very overwhelming, and there was no immense adjustment she had to make. Since the two schools both function under the Columbia Public School (CPS) administration, Pokharel found the transition straightforward and simple.
“The transfer process was fine [since] the schedules [of both schools] are the exact same,” Pokharel said. “The only difference between the schools was that Hickman has three stories [compared to Rock Bridge having two stories].”
Pokharel is one of 167 students who transferred from inside and outside the CPS district over the summer of 2017, RBHS school registrar Lisa Davis said. Davis, who is usually the first person families contact and meet with during the RBHS enrollment process, says she continues to constantly enroll transfer students into RBHS throughout the course of the school year.
“As of this fall, I have enrolled 67 students after school started,” Davis said. “During that time, the students [who transferred to RBHS] came at a variety of times in the middle of the first semester from schools all over the [country].”
Amid this enrollment process for transfer students and incoming freshmen alike, Davis communicates with parents to complete the first step in registration. This first step involves the parents filling out information forms and also showing proof of residency within the RBHS school district.
“Once [the parents] have turned everything in to me, then I schedule an appointment for them to meet [their child’s] counselor and principal,” Davis said. “Once the necessary forms have been turned in, my part directly [communicating] with [the parents and students] during the enrollment process is usually done, but sometimes I still am getting records and information of the student from the other school [the student is transferring from].”
Davis explained how she and the counseling office receive the transcripts of the enrolling transfer students and process the transcript into the RBHS system. The process ensures the transfer students receive the credits they earned from the schools they transferred from.
“After my direct communication with the families of the students, the counselors meet with them to discuss about potential classes the students want to take,” Davis said. “The counselors help make the students’ schedules, and I help secure [and attain] the necessary information to allow the transfer students to [attend] RBHS.”
Davis met with senior Finn Kisida during his transition to RBHS entering his junior. Kisida transferred to RBHS from Fayetteville High School in Arkansas and moved to Columbia because of his dad’s job. Kisida’s dad received a job teaching and conducting research at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
“My [previous school] was actually much bigger than Rock Bridge since all the [high schoolers in the] town went to this one high school,” Kisida said. “Rock Bridge was the school recommended to me by some [of my] family that lives here in Columbia, so we looked for houses in the Rock Bridge district. Starting my first day, I was excited to start at Rock Bridge since I’d been told that there were lots of freedoms and opportunities to be independent here.”
The increased level of trust granted to students attracted Kisida and caused him to immerse himself into the school atmosphere. The transfer process was smooth for him, and he ended up happy with the classes he took, even though they weren’t all his first choice. Kisida explained how at first it was hard to make friends during the first few weeks of his junior year because it was hard for him to approach other people.
“My first couple of weeks at RBHS were kind of lonely,” Kisida said. “But [since then], I’ve [gotten] really wonderful friends who I wouldn’t trade for anything. I’ve liked Rock Bridge; it’s got its faults, but I think overall it’s a good school with good teachers and lots of freedoms.”
When comparing Fayetteville and RBHS, Kisida admits that RBHS is actually very different than Fayetteville. He explains how the people are much nicer at RBHS, whereas Fayetteville seemed to have a problem with people being mean to each other for no reason. Kisida feels much more accepted by the people at RBHS and believes they are willing to help each other out more often.
“Rock Bridge and the Career Center also provided me with an opportunity that I didn’t have [at Fayetteville],” Kisida said. “This means that there are a lot more options to choose from here. Fayetteville had very basic classes in a limited number of subjects because it was so large that it was impossible to focus on individual students. Rock Bridge offers so many more classes in [many] more niche subjects. I couldn’t be happier with my move and transfer, the friends I’ve made, and [the] opportunities I’ve had here blow Fayetteville out of the water. I’m much happier here.”
As Kisida’s RBHS chapter comes to a close, Pokharel’s is starting to develop. She is pleased with her experience at RBHS and looks forward to participating in more activities in the future.
“I’m going to do swimming next year,” Pokharel said. “I wanted to do swimming this year, but [my] scheduling didn’t work out. I’m also planning to do foreign exchange, and I want to go to Spain. I am really [looking forward] to the years to come.”