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State Honoree

Elizabeth Moss

Nevada

created and operates a “welcome wagon” at her school in an effort to make every new student feel at home. “I know what it feels like to enter a new town, a new school, knowing no one,” said Elizabeth, who has moved seven times in her life. “No one to talk to in the halls, no one to sit with at lunch.” Eventually, after every new move, Elizabeth made friends, found her way around, and felt at home. But she felt that no one should have to slowly make their way all alone. “Many of the violent scenes that were taking place in the high schools across the country seemed to boil down to students who felt friendless, alone and unwanted,” she said. “By creating an environment where involved students were reaching out to welcome new students, I felt that all students would benefit.” Elizabeth suggested her welcome wagon idea to students throughout the school, who were very supportive. She received student council and administrative approval, and formed a committee which solicited local businesses for donations. Every new student is invited to a welcome lunch, where they meet other students, learn about school clubs and activities, and receive a welcome basket with discount coupons and small gifts. The program is so successful, it is being heralded as a violence prevention measure. “I find I don’t feel so alone anymore because I am always watching out for others who are alone,” she said.