Every year round about May, every middle school teacher becomes aware of how much the students have grown over the course of the year. The outside growth is very evident as our students have grown over a combined eight feet. The inner growth is harder to see at first glance. Much of the inner growth this year has come from our focus of “Character Matters.” Over the course of the year we have tried to focus on positive character traits and why being a person of character matters. Now it’s May and I sit here reflecting on the current Middle School student body and its character traits.
The 2014-15 middle school student body will be remembered by me as a group that was one of the most inviting groups of kids I have encountered. I was amazed and continue to be amazed at how mixed the student body became. The usual labels of “sports player,” “international student,” or “day student” didn’t seem to exist. It was amazing to watch these young people grow and mature while still being open to interacting with and being close with anyone and everyone regardless of what passion brought them to SSM. It seemed that the old predictable method of finding who was friends with who (on same team, from same state, etc.) didn’t matter this year and everyone was close with everyone.
The other amazing feature this group brought is their ability and willingness to try any activity or game. The best example of this came when I had to make up an activity at the 9th grade overnight trip to Eagle Bluff. Due to rain, our usual game of capture the flag had to be cancelled. In its place I told everyone to get a chair and sit in it. Without batting an eye the whole grade found a chair and soon the room was alive with intensity over the game “Sit in a Chair.” What could have been a rained out boring night turned into the highlight of the trip. The 9th graders’ willingness to try anything saved the night. I hope they never lose that.
Character can be shown in many ways and forms. I hope that this group of 6,7,8, and 9th grade students never loses their openness and willingness to meet new people and try new things. These traits have made 2014-15 a special year and have made Shattuck-St. Mary’s Middle School a special place. Hopefully these students can take these ideals and spread them wherever they go.