Wayne Student Has A Message For Peers At Elmhurst

By Brien McElhatten

June 18, 2010 Updated May 13, 2010 at 6:13 PM EDT

Fort Wayne, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - If Elmhurst High School students are concerned about their transition to new schools in the fall, one Wayne student is extending a warm welcome.

For the New Tech students at Wayne High School, classroom assignments are exercises in leadership and problem solving. One student is taking that lesson to heart. When Mary Cerajewski learned Elmhurst High School would be closing this summer, with many of those students coming to Wayne, she sprang into action.

“I thought that it would be scary for your school to close. I thought that they should feel welcomed here and that people want them to come here so they have another option," said Mary Cerajewski.

Just like in class, Mary formulated a plan. She recruited a few of her friends to go to Elmhurst High School and talk with students there about life at Wayne. She’s even convinced Wayne’s baseball team to scout for players at Elmhurst. All of this without prompting from her teachers.

Did we mention she’s only a freshman?

“If there’s a challenge, she doesn’t back down from it for one second. If someone needs help she’s there in a minute," said teacher Ginger Giessler.

Even Mary’s friends who are helping her to roll out that red carpet are impressed.

“Mary, she’s really a good friend and she’s always encouraged me to help out," explained Evelyn Leiva.

Mary says she’s only trying to help Elmhurst students feel at home when they walk in Wayne’s doors next year.

“I think they’ll be a little nervous at first. They might be quiet. But I think after the first couple of weeks they’ll feel like this is their new home and they’ll feel a lot better about themselves.”

Mary is planning welcome activities in the fall when many Elmhurst students will begin their transition to Wayne High School.

Elmhurst High School was targeted for closure earlier this year as officials with Fort Wayne Community Schools tried to fix a $15 million budget gap. The school will close at the end of the current school year. Many of its students will be moved to Wayne in the fall.

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