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OCS Holds First S2S Summit

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Being able to provide transitioning students with a sense of belonging can make the difference between their success and failure in their new environment.

The Student2Student program was developed to help students, both military and non-military, fit in. This student-run program provides a new student with friendly faces, a lunch partner, and someone to give them a tour of the school and offer advice when needed. These groups also plan inclusive, fun social activities so the student can branch out.

Swansboro High School was the first school in the county to implement the S2S program and this year their strong program earned them the title Military Friendly School of the Year. When the inspiration came to put together a Student2Student Summit, bringing area S2S student leaders and advisors together, Swansboro gladly stepped up to host the inaugural event. Along with Onslow County high schools, there were students from Camp Lejeune High School, West Carteret High School and Topsail High School in Pender County.

Eric Matticola, Swansboro’s S2S coordinator said the summit provided the opportunity for the S2S groups to really work together and learn from each other. Morning and afternoon breakout sessions focused on a variety of topics.  Debra Longley, with the Military Child Education Coalition, sent a special videotaped message to all the students commending them for their participation in the summit.

Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley, commanding general Marine Corps Installations East-Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a huge supporter of the program, so much so he made a special appearance to speak to students during their lunch break. He explained his daughter attended eight different schools. “So that’s eight different first days where she didn’t know anybody; the S2S program is something I wish she would have had at those schools that she attended because that’s the thing that helps welcome our military students with that tumultuous lifestyle they lead … (to feel accepted),” he said.

He thanked the students for their hard work and support and shared one of his favorite quotes from a speech made by former president Theodore Roosevelt in 1910 entitled “The Man in the Arena,” It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.



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