Ramstein students welcome peers to new home

Story and photo by Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Students from Ramstein High School participate in an attentive exercise as part of the Student 2 Student program March 5.
Students from Ramstein High School participate in an attentive exercise as part of the Student 2 Student program March 5.

Ramstein High School students trained on how to establish and sustain peer-based programs helping support military children as part of the Student 2 Student program March 5 and 6 at Ramstein.

The program teaches multiple coping techniques, which can help ease the transition of military children at a new location.

“It can be a horrible feeling for these children to hear they are moving,” said Tracy Brown, Military Child Education Coalition S2S trainer. “They will have to leave friends behind along with everything they have grown to know, especially if they are going to a new country.

“By teaching the S2S program, we provide those children tools, which can help ease the transition of new students by focusing on acceptance, belonging and caring,” Brown continued. “The best support for a transitioning student is from another student.”

Whether they are arriving or leaving, Ramstein students aim to take care of their peers and assist them where they can.

“We focus a lot of our time on our base with sponsorship,” said Chief Master Sgt. Frank Batten III, 86th Airlift Wing command chief. “Whether it is the Airman or spouse, we want them to feel welcome and what you (students) are doing as far as peer-to-peer is really great stuff. It helps us help our Airmen when we know their children are taken care of.”

During the course, students and teachers participated in various activities ranging from spelling their name with their elbow to recognizing detail changes in their outfits, which exercised team work and communication while encouraging acceptance.

“Sometimes people don’t realize the background some of the new students come from, and, as S2S members, it is important for us to always keep that in mind,” said Katherina Moua, Ramstein High School student and S2S club president. “The skills we learned here have really helped open our eyes and remember how hard it is for someone to transition somewhere new.”

Moua has moved seven times throughout her life with the majority being overseas. With that experience she said being involved with the S2S program has taught her how to adjust, grow and help others.

“It is nice being around people who have gone through similar situations,” Moua said. “Our goal at Ramstein High School is to make sure new students feel welcomed, especially since we come from a military family. We know how it is coming in to a new environment having to adapt.”

With the training complete, the Ramstein S2S team plans to create a customized campus plan here to inspire their peers to accept, support and care for other military children who are coming to their new home or leaving for their next one.