Courtesy of Renata Farrell
Entering high school can be a difficult transition for anyone to make, but some people struggle to find their place more than others.
Renata Farrell, a senior at LHS, has helped many students find their place and fit in.
Before the pandemic, guidance counselor, Christopher O’Brien, would reach out to Farrell for help with students who were new. Renata and a few other students were a resource to new students for questions, understanding, directions, and connections with clubs and organizations.
Not only did Renata serve as a resource for new students, but she and a few others were also friends to the new students. These students created a warm welcoming environment for new students.
Over time, this has developed into a student-led organization called Lancer Ambassadors.
Lancer Ambassadors planned to officially launch in Fall 2020, but has had a smaller start remotely, and they are hoping to start being able to support students in the second term.
Lancer Ambassadors is a peer-directed program, headed by Farrell.
Renata created this organization because she had the first-hand experience . She entered ninth grade from Saint John Regional Catholic School. During her transition, she realized that students coming from non-feeder schools did not have as smooth of a transition as students from feeder schools.
When she first decided to start working on the group, her plan was to create a “buddy system” for students experiencing the rough transition like she did.
The transition from non-feeder schools to Linganore makes it difficult for students to get involved and feel connected to traditions and activities.
“The lag time can prevent a student from thriving, or worse, could leave a student feeling alone or disconnected from our school,” said Farrell.
The group has expanded from focusing on students coming from non-feeder schools, to focusing on any student who is struggling.
Although Farrell is the creator, she does not get to choose who gets to be an ambassador. Ambassadors are recommended by guidance counselors, teachers, and administration.
Farrell said, “Ambassadors were chosen from the sophomore and junior classes because they have experience with how LHS works, and they will be here next year to continue the program.”
In order for a student to be recommended to be an ambassador, they have to have the desire to serve others, time to commit to the student they are assisting, and a true love for Linganore.
There are about 15 ambassadors from various sports, clubs and activities at LHS. The group of ambassadors is very diverse in interests so that students can be matched with an ambassador who has similar interests as them and can personally help them get involved with the group.
“It’s also great to have other students who are willing to help out. My hope is that this program will continue to grow,” said O’Brien.
Aside from Lancer Ambassadors, Farrell has already found her place. She is a member of the SGA, Student Voices, the National Honor Society, and the National Science Honor Society. She is also taking all PLTW courses. Renata enjoys swimming and is a coach and swimmer on Fox Swim Club.
Renata plans to major in materials science and possibly double majoring with biomedical engineering.
Renata said, “No matter what I end up doing for my career, I want to help others in some way.”