New students adjust to Archer, learning structure, support systems


Photo credit: Lizette Gonzalez

Pictured is the front of The Archer School for Girls. This school year, Archer enrolled 500 students in both divisions and 95 new students overall.

By Lizette Gonzalez, Features Editor

For the 2022-2023 school year, there are 95 new students within the halls of Archer. From sixth to 12th grade, the student body is now composed of 502 students coming from 76 different zip codes. As the school year kicks off, new students reflect on their journey to Archer and how their first few weeks have gone so far.

For freshman Melinda Wang, the biggest change has been the shift from a coed education to an all-girls education. Wang said she was intrigued by the experience of an all-girls environment, and it was one of the reasons why she applied.

“At first, I was a bit skeptical because, all my life, I have been in coed schools,” Wang said. “Now that I’ve experienced it, the best way I can describe it is that it’s just so different. I’m still getting used to it, but I think I like this a more because in a coed situation, there was a lot more tension for some reason. Here, I feel a lot more welcomed and, honestly, way more empowered too.”

Archer’s schedule structure is something that caught the attention of freshman Noah Jackson as she arrived on campus. Jackson said one of her favorite things in her first few weeks has been the independence students have throughout the day.

“It’s really nice to have a period where you can work on homework and spend time with your friends,” Jackson said. “That was something I quickly realized at Archer — the adults want you to connect with others and be able to get things done, which I didn’t really have at my old school.”

I thought that was incredible because I saw how the students felt like their opinions were welcomed, so that really was the moment where I wanted to come here.”

— Melinda Wang ('26)

With the school offering 157 different courses and signature programs ranging from the arts to STEM, seventh grader Sabrina Rifkin said she has appreciated the opportunity to explore her interests. Rifkin participates in the dance troupe program and the garden group.

The resources here are insane. I’m able to find out what I’m really interested in because that’s just what everyone is expected to do,” Rifkin said. “It’s also been a chance for me to make friends because that can be a little hard when you are new, so I like the different opportunities that exist to meet people. There’s something for everyone here.”

Similarly, sixth grader Stella Saliman said her favorite aspect of Archer has been her classes.

“The academics here at Archer are so fun. My favorite is Chinese because I’ve never learned a foreign language, and it’s been cool to have that chance to learn a new language and more about a culture that I don’t know a lot about,” Saliman said. “I was really nervous my first week because everything was so new, but the fact that I actually like every class has made me feel better about it all.”

Wang was able to sit in on a ninth grade history class during her application process, and she said her observations played a key role in her decision of choosing which school she would enroll in.

“I shadowed a ninth grade history class, and they were talking about racism, and I was just so surprised at how open everyone was to share their opinions and experiences,” Wang said. “I thought that was incredible because I saw how the students felt like their opinions were welcomed, so that really was the moment where I wanted to come here.”

In her first month at Archer, Wang said she has already noticed how her transition has affected her as a student and as a person.

“In the educational sense, I have definitely learned to speak up more here, and I really think that I can apply that to every aspect now of my life,” Wang said. “My transition has been pretty smooth, and I owe that to the fact that I found my group of people more quickly than I thought. They are a big reason why I’m loving it, so far too, because they don’t make me feel new, so that initial uncomfortableness disappeared.” 

Jackson expressed gratitude for the different support systems she has experienced. She said that the sense of community eased her way into a new environment.

“It’s hard sometimes, but the fact that everyone is so nice alleviated the nerves,” Jackson. “There is someone I can go to for anything, whether it’s friends, teachers or my mentor, I feel supported in this new chapter of my life for both the ups and downs.”