All About Apex Ambassadors!
Freshman year is an exciting yet stressful time for many students. While most enjoy the newfound freedoms associated with high school, they might also have a hard time finding their place in a school with over two thousand students. Thankfully, Apex High has a team of student ambassadors who are here to resolve this issue. These ambassadors, who are members of the Apex Ambassador Program, play a bigger role in shaping the freshman experience than one might think.
The Apex Ambassador Program consists of juniors and seniors who help incoming freshmen adjust to high school, make new friends, and become involved in the community. They have facilitated numerous school events, such as Cougar Camp and Walk-Your-Schedule Day. They are also responsible for managing Freshman Fridays, which are monthly events held during lunch that pertain to a certain theme. The most recent Freshman Friday was the Club Fair on September 9th, where ambassadors directed freshmen to various club booths and helped keep the event running smoothly.
However, the ambassadors’ primary job is to meet with freshmen throughout the school year and make sure they are getting the support they need. Before the start of school, each ambassador is assigned to a freshman homeroom, which they are required to visit once a month. During these homeroom meetings, ambassadors provide underclassmen with academic resources, information about school events and ways to get involved in the community. They also plan activities to do with their homeroom class, such as icebreaker games or community service projects, to foster connections between students.
While the program has become well-known throughout the school, it is still fairly new. The Apex High Student Equity Team only started the program right before the 2021-2022 school year. By having upperclassmen represent Apex High, they hoped to better showcase the school’s diversity and welcoming atmosphere.
“The [equity] team was looking for a way to help students see themselves at Apex,” explained Mrs. Stevenson, who is one of the advisors for the Ambassador Program. “Freshman year is really tough, and the 9th-grade team thought it just made sense to have students see themselves in their peers…”
After the program was conceptualized, the Equity Team reached out to staff and asked them to nominate students of diverse backgrounds and interests to become Ambassadors. Thirty-three students agreed to join the program, forming the first generation of Apex Ambassadors.
Today, the program has fifty-four ambassadors, and they are advised by Ms. Pettifer, Mrs. Stevenson, Ms. Squires, and Mrs. Stallworth.
“It has been very fulfilling working with such a great group of students,” stated Ms. Pettifer, who joined the program as an advisor this year. “Their ideas and hard work are what make this program as meaningful as it is.”
In fact, the ambassadors are often the ones taking the lead within the program. This year, a student executive board was created, allowing ambassadors to vote on major decisions and play a bigger role in planning events. Ambassadors have also made many efforts to reach out to their freshmen beyond the classroom, such as sitting with them at lunch or going with them to football games.
“So far, my experience [in the program] has been pretty enjoyable,” Shivani Handa, an ambassador who is currently a junior, stated. “It’s really nice to be a part of a community of other juniors and seniors who are kind and want to help others.”
Some ambassadors also feel that the program is giving current freshmen an experience that many upperclassmen lacked.
“When I was a freshman, I had to explore all these options by myself,” explained Alex Woo, a senior who is entering his second year as an ambassador. “But now that we have this program, I think it’s a great way to connect the incoming freshmen with the school community.”
Although the school year has just begun, the Apex Ambassadors hope to continue building a positive environment for freshmen and help them feel seen, heard, and respected. To keep up with the program’s work, events, and achievements, be sure to follow them on Instagram @apexambassador!