New School, New Me


Transferring schools can be scary, especially when everyone already has an established group of friends. A new school means a new atmosphere and a new and unfamiliar environment. This can make it hard to fit in, especially after transferring from a private school.

Kaitilyn Kelley went through this drastic change as she switched from Genesis Prep to Lakeland High School as a junior. 

“I was ready for a change and needed something new, so switching to a better school sounded like a great idea,” Kelley said. Though Kelley has adjusted to the new school, she admits it was initially different. 

Private schools differ from public schools because of the culture and the academics. Kelley noted how most people, including herself at first, thought private school was more academically challenging than public school. She quickly realized she was wrong and that public school was more challenging. 

“The standards between the two schools are just very different. Private school teaches and treats everyone as a group rather than as individuals like at Lakeland,” Kelley said. “Private school was easier because when one person would struggle, they would lower the standards for everyone. At Lakeland, everyone is held accountable and has standards they are supposed to meet, despite their struggling peers.” 

She notes that this is not bad because it teaches individuality and allows students to succeed to their full potential rather than being hindered by others. It was only tricky for Kelley initially because it was a foreign concept; she was unfamiliar with it. Since she has adjusted academically, it made making friends and trying new things easier because she did not have to worry about her grades. 

“I am really thankful for the softball program here. Without it, I would not have made nearly as many friends as I have,” Kelley said. 

Kelley has played golf for most of her life and enjoys it, but she needed and wanted to play another sport that would help her make friends in school. 

“I was nervous at first because a lot of the girls have been playing longer than I have, but I knew that if I put in the work, I could eventually meet them at their level,” Kelley said. 

Going into a new sport means learning the rules, knowing what you can and can not do, and having enough softball IQ to know what plays to make and where. This comes with time, and by the end of the season, it started to show through her performance. 

“There were times that I got down on myself, but my teammates were there to pick me up. This helped me on the field and in a social aspect,” Kelley said. 

Being part of the Lakeland softball team means joining a family. The day Kelley made the softball team, she became part of that family. She later became excellent friends with players from both JV and varsity. These are friendships she will have through next year and the following season, which she is excited about. 

“Going into next year’s season, I’ll have more experience and friends, which I hope will help me play better. I have goals for softball that I want to meet for my senior year, and I plan to work towards them during the season,” Kelley said. 

Coming into a new school and a new sport can be intimidating, but Kelley was great at remaining optimistic. She did not let the fear control her ability to try new things and make friends, and it is clear she has prospered because of it.