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Middle school, just by its very name, means it’s a pretty unique place. Not quite elementary school and not quite high school, middle school has it’s own unique set of challenges.
One big challenge is how quickly one’s time there passes. As a student, it may feel like you just left elementary school before you’re already starting high school.
Luckily for the students at Los Alamos Middle School though, there’s a program that’s been in place for years that serves to make the time students spend there more memorable.
It’s called “Student of the Term,” an awards breakfast that happens six times a year inside the school’s cafeteria. Students are nominated by their teachers for a particular accomplishment, and are awarded a certificate in the presence of their peers and parents.
According to Rex Kilburn, the school’s principal, it’s a way to give the students a nice pat on the back. Categories include accomplishments in any academic subject as well as self-improvement.
“Teachers are looking for drastic improvement, good grades, social responsibility, things of that nature,” he said.
“The kids who do come really appreciate being recognized, and the parents are extremely supportive,” Kilburn said. “It’s a brief moment of recognition acknowledging their work. The kids, given their age, might not be exactly overwhelmed with emotions, but the feedback we get from the parents is that the students, as well as the parents, really appreciate it.”
Parent Jeff Segler recently attended a Student of the Term breakfast, where his daughter Emme Segler was honored. He said he loves the fact the school has many other programs parents can participate in with their kids as well. The last event was “New Mexico History Day,” where Segler, a professional artist, got to demonstrate his skills to the students.
“It was a great idea that was very well executed. The kids enjoyed it, and they also asked a lot of questions,” he said of the history event.
Teacher Jill Gross has been coordinator of the event for the past two years, and has added some touches to make the event extra special. She does much of the setup herself, with the parents bringing in their own potluck breakfasts to share with the students. Some of those touches involved the decor of the event itself, covering the tables with Hawk blue paper, table decorations and glitter.
“We really try to make the students feel special,” she said. “It’s really a lot of fun.”
Kilburn also noted this event was the first time in a long time they held separate ceremonies for each grade.
“It’s been wonderfully received. We love it, it’s much more smaller and personal,” he said.
This year, the seventh and eighth grade ceremonies were held in late January and honored around 70 students.