For Stiles Zuschlag, no longer being called by his former name, or “dead name,” is a sweet relief.

It’s one of the many benefits that Zuschlag, a transgender male, has experienced since transfering last fall from Tri-City Christian Academy in Somersworth, New Hampshire, to Noble High School in North Berwick.

Zuschlag, who transitioned from female to male in 2015, decided to go to Noble High after the academy’s administrator said he was no longer welcome at the small Christian school he had attended since kindergarten. The way Zuschlag tells it, he left just in time.

“It got to the point I was suicidal,” said Zuschlag, 18, of Lebanon. “I hated being called by my dead name at school. I avoided eating and drinking so I wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom. I was basically waiting all day to go home and be safe.”

Zuschlag found a safe learning environment and a fresh start at Noble High.

“I can be who I am,” Zuschlag said. “It really showed me there was more to public schools than I thought.”

He also finally learned algebra and his English teacher reignited his love for literature and writing.

Zuschlag said his education at the Christian school was strong and he was on his way to being class valedictorian. At Noble High, he gave up any class standing and he missed his friends at the Christian academy, but he didn’t miss the views espoused there.

“It felt like I was a sin they could see,” Zuschlag said. “We all sin, but they felt they had to cast me out.”

Still, he forgave them immediately, he said.

“It’s a waste of energy to do otherwise,” he said. “Jesus taught us to forgive. It’s way easier to live without a grudge.”

Zuschlag’s extracurricular activities throughout high school included drama, dance, chorus, American sign language, soccer, snowboarding, golf and archery. He has performed in several school and community plays, including “Into the Woods” and “Grease.”

Because his schooling was disrupted, Zuschlag plans to continue his education at York County Community College in the fall, then transfer to Emerson College in Boston to study acting and writing.

“I think acting comes a little easier for me because I’ve been pretending to be somebody else my entire life,” he said.

Zuschlag said he’s most grateful for the loving support he has received from his older sister, Tera Feliz, 36, and her daughter, Joji, who is his best friend.

“Tera let me be who I was around her,” Zuschlag said. “She’s always been accepting and supportive, from day one.”