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Johnny Comelately: The Story of Edison Transfer Students

Integration of Students who do not attend EHS Feeder Schools

Matt Chielpegian, Staff Writer

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Edison is a funny place. In many ways, it is a cross-section of Fresno, thanks to its atypical structuring as a half-neighborhood/half-magnet public high school. Like Fresno, it is majority Hispanic (though the city of Fresno is technically plurality Hispanic), with sizable Black, White, and Asian populations (especially of Hmong descent). Just about every zip code within 45 minutes of EHS is represented in the student rolls. However, there is one division within the student body of Edison that isn’t talked about that much: the Tigers who came from outside middle schools (junior highs not named Gaston or Computech).

While Edison is no John Hughes movie, there are still cliques. It’s human nature: to want to spend time with those that make you comfortable.  Students that came from Gaston or Computech already have a set of friends to fall back on in high school. That is not to say that coming to Edison from a different school is some impossible or even mildly difficult task: no one I talked to for this piece had a negative experience transition to 540 E. California.

Take Omar Dahir. A Rio Vista Middle School grad (Central Unified School District), Omar came to Edison hardly knowing a soul, attracted by the Engineering Program. To hear Omar tell it, things were pretty smooth sailing. “I had a solid group of friends before the end of my first semester,” Omar recalled. Dahir did make an interesting observation however: “I guess it was just a coincidence, but now that I think of it, most of my friends also didn’t go to Computech or Gaston. I don’t feel as if they are some exclusive group, that is funny.”

Mike Wiehl (Carden School of Fresno) and Ian Kelly (Tenaya Middle School) felt similarly. “A major source of friends for me was sports,” Wiehl noted. “Over my high school years I have played three sports: Swimming from 9th to 11th grade, Water Polo from 10th to 12th, and Basketball for 9th and 12th. The bonds you form with those experience cannot be replicated.” Kelly concurred, and his familial connection served as a catalyst. “Having spent time all around Edison when my brother [Garrett Kelly] was here, I came in knowing the lay of the land and some faculty.”

For Yash Patel, going to Edison wasn’t an extra 10 minutes to his commute. It was a trek some 8,000 miles in the making. Yash had previously attended the prestigious Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul Sarvajivhitavah School (also called the SGVP International School) in Ahmedabad, in the Gujarat province of India (pictured right). When his dad decided to move the family to the United States for business, they chose Fresno for its equidistance to San Francisco and Los Angeles. And Yash ended up at Edison. “My English was shaky when I first got here, but everyone at Edison was so welcoming,” Yash recounted. “It could have gone so much worse”.

Bottom line: While people at Edison may come from varied backgrounds and many different schools, something brings us together.

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Johnny Comelately: The Story of Edison Transfer Students