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Getting used to the move

Summer is a busy time for relocating families, but teens who have moved before say that sports and activities make the adjustmen

Summer is a busy time for relocating families, but teens who have moved before say that sports and activities make the adjustmen

May 25, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

katec@herald-mail.com

School's almost out and summer's about to begin.

For many, it's a time to kick back, relax, hang out with friends.

For many others, it's a time to pack up, say goodbye and get ready to move to a new community.

Summer - when school is out - is the time most people move, according to information on the Web site of the American Moving and Storage Association, the industry's nonprofit trade association.

Moving - leaving a home and starting all over again in a new one, a new neighborhood, a new school - requires adjustment.

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Young veterans of moving have figured out how to deal with it.

Stephen Cote has coped before, and he is getting ready to deal with change again.

The 18-year-old South Hagerstown High School senior will be moving to New Hampshire with his family.

Cote's family has moved - about six times - because of his father's work.

Before coming to Hagerstown in August 1999, the Cotes lived in Farm-ville, Va., in the heart of the state, Cote said.

It's kind of hard to leave Hagers-town, he said. He's made friends here - good connections.

But he didn't get connected right away. Cote said he was a loner during his first two years of high school. He was too shy to approach other students.

Mike Nelson's family also has made a move or two.

The St. Maria Goretti High School senior came to Hagerstown two years ago from Raleigh, N.C. The Nelsons had lived there for six years and in Savannah, Ga., for four or five years before that.

Leaving North Carolina in the middle of high school was not easy.

"I had to leave a lot of friends behind," said Nelson, 18.

Coming to this city without knowing anyone here proved to be a good thing for Nelson's family - his parents and sister, who's in ninth grade at North Hagerstown High School.

"We just kind of bonded," he said. "We got really close."

Nelson stayed in touch with old friends. Three are coming to his graduation next Saturday.

There were other adjustments.

Leaving a "huge" high school and coming into a small one was a big change for Nelson. He played football in Raleigh, and Goretti doesn't have a football program. But both schools have basketball. His North Carolina team won their conference, and he has the team's picture on the wall in his bedroom. He's also held on to the basketball he's had for years.

"It's still bouncing," he laughed. "Everybody's touched that ball."

He's played basketball at Goretti.

"Instant bonding," he said.

His new high school's Varsity Club has been a way for him to get involved in other activities, including volunteering at Marshall Street School and the cold-weather shelter. Nelson also has written sports stories for Goretti's school newspaper.

He recommends getting involved in some activity at a new school.

Cote agreed. He played football during his junior and senior years - tight end and defensive end.

"You meet tons of friends in sports," he said.

"Involvement increases academic success," said Cindy Glass, acting supervisor of guidance and counseling at the Washington County Board of Education.

Glass previously was a pupil personnel worker at South Hagerstown High School. She worked with student support teams, which bring together different aspects of the school, including people from guidance, school administration and the school nurse, with the student and family.

"I think it works so well for welcoming students," she said.

They get to meet all the "players" at the school, and it gives students an opportunity to share their interests, she said. Student aides serve as "peer buddies" - giving tours and offering support when new students need it.

Cote was born in New Hampshire and has extended family there, but no friends - yet.

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