Profile: Transferring into Jesuit as a Senior


Aiko Fox opens up about her experience as a senior transfer.

The first day of senior year is predictable for most students: the buildings are familiar, the people the same, the routine mastered.

But for Aiko Fox, a senior transfer into Jesuit High School, the first day of senior year was much more complicated.

“I was terrified of school. I was literally sitting there with my mom the night before, and I kept saying, `I just can’t go to school tomorrow.’”

Aiko is no stranger to the instability of change. Her summer wasn’t a period of relaxation, but instead, a time of readjustment. Aiko made the move from sunny San Jose to Portland in late June, but her mother and father moved north a year earlier, and she spent her junior year living with family friends.

Still, she had to get used to new surroundings this year. A new house, new streets, new people, new weather, and probably most intimidating, a new school.

For Aiko, that new school is Jesuit. As she is spending her final year of high school somewhere other than her native home, all she could hope for was a little familiarity.

“[My previous school] was super similar to Jesuit, it was a private Catholic school. And I wanted the easiest transition I could find,” said Aiko.

Predictably, the biggest challenge was meeting people.

Being a new person in any social environment is daunting. Joining a class of people who have had three school years to get to know each other is arguably worse.

“I just did not know if anybody was going to welcome me into their friend group because it’s all so dead set by senior year. And I didn’t know anybody. It was like, ‘Who am I going to sit and eat lunch with? Who am I going to walk to class with?’ Just not knowing how it would go because it was completely new and different.”

There’s no denying that the senior transfer student is uncommon. Most students entering their senior year at any high school expect a mostly unchanged class, and the sight of anyone new is noticeable.

“I was definitely surprised to see her in my class,” said Alex Hawes, a classmate and friend of Aiko. “By the time you hit senior year you don’t expect transfers anymore. I kind of did a double take. I thought she was someone already in my class that I somehow didn’t know.”

Despite her initial trepidation, when asked if the senior transfer experience has been anything like she thought it would be, Aiko smiled.

“It’s not as hard as I thought,” she said.

Aiko said she “found her groove” quickly. The reason: good people, and good community. After a summer of stress, she discovered teachers that were there for her when she needed help, and people that she really liked being around.

“A lot of the people are very different. I would say that the people here are more outgoing. They are super friendly. You can only meet them once and they’ll say hi to you in the halls. It’s really nice.”

But her favorite part of Jesuit is its togetherness, its sense of community. At mass, which was only offered once a month at her previous school, Aiko was struck by the enjoyment she felt in being able to come together and sing with her new classmates. She also loves the energy of assemblies, and the school spirit they evoke.

Although there were parts Aiko had to adjust to–the food, the schedule, and the lack of adequate air conditioning–she says that transferring has been an overall positive experience.

“There’s definitely times where I’m like, man, I wish I was here for all four years… because I really like it here so far. I don’t think I would have had the same experience at a different school.”