Joshua Ehrat, a senior this year at CHA, knows well what it is like to be the “new kid” at school. Before transferring to CHA in the middle of last school year, he had been enrolled at a total of four schools. He has experienced many of the common challenges in being a new student at a new school, but says that his first day at CHA was like none other. It was a small act of kindness on his first day last year that inspired him to make this year’s new students at CHA feel as welcomed as he did.
On Joshua’s first day, he opened his locker to find that another student – Melissa – had decorated the inside with encouraging words and a big banner that said, “Welcome to CHA, Joshua!” She also left him a small gift including a bag of chips and sweet tea.
“I can honestly say that I have never felt so welcome on a first day of school,” said Joshua. “Just a little bit of effort and kindness made such a positive impact and difference for me on that first day. I still have the notes in my room to this day.”
As this new school year approached, Joshua was compelled to extend the same act of kindness to all new students at CHA. On the day before the first day of school, he placed in fourteen new students’ lockers a small bag of chips, a pack of candy, a bottle of soda, and a one-page note with words of encouragement and an invitation of friendship.
Joshua was extremely pleased to extend a small token of kindness to the new students, and has witnessed the caring, Christ-like environment at CHA in a particular way.
“Out of all the schools that I have attended, I can honestly say that CHA has the most friendly and family-like atmosphere. Elsewhere, students hear the good news of Jesus, and simply dismiss it. The students here really care about God and what He wants for them.”
In reflecting on his time at other schools as the new kid at school, he recalls the anxiety he had in the days leading up to the new school year and throughout the first weeks of school. His advice for other new students is to simply stay the course and have faith that it will, in fact, get better.
“Eventually, things begin to feel normal. Friends are made, routines are established, and a sense of relief comes. If there are any new students who still feel like they’re in free fall, they just have to remember that even though it will probably take some time, they’ll eventually feel right at home.”
As Joshua embarks on his senior year, he is considering pursuing a career in the financial field or psychiatry.