Voices of experience
By Linda Lemond Post-Tribune correspondent June 6, 2012 3:50PM
Eighth-graders (from left) Golf Junyanid, Zach Alpers, Devon Fravel, Mike Johnson, Danielle Schultz, Helena Ysaguirre, Sarina Rodriguez, Veronica Carrasco and Chenoa Cole discuss middle school topics with Myers’ fifth graders. | Photo Provided
Updated: July 8, 2012 6:40PM
“Is there an Art Club?”
“How big are the lockers?”
“Is there a big boyfriend-girlfriend problem in middle school?”
These were just some of the questions posed by Myers Elementary School fifth-graders when eighth-graders from Portage’s Fegely and Willowcreek Middle schools visited their school.
This is the fifth year for the Fifth Grade Talks. Willowcreek counselor Kelly Smith started the project, bringing outstanding students to the elementary schools to help prepare students for life as middle schoolers. The following year Fegely counselor Kim Milner joined Smith, since the elementary schools feed into both middle schools.
Veronica Carrasco, Chenoa Cole, Sarina Rodriquez, Helena Ysaguirre, Zach Alpers and Golf Junyanid from Willowcreek, and Danielle Schultz, Mike Johnson and Devon Fravel from Fegely spoke. They took turns discussing topics such as schedules, lockers, lunch, athletics, clubs and dress codes. Myers was the sixth school they had visited in two days. Following this visit, they were heading to Saylor and Central. Each visit lasted about half an hour.
“We picked the eighth-graders because they have been in middle school for three years and know the ropes,” Smith explained. “They can appreciate what the fifth-graders are feeling because they are also nervous about their new venture of moving on to high school.”
“We’ve gotten such a good reception from the fifth-graders,” Milner said. “They actually listen to the kids better than they’d listen to us because they’ve been there recently and can share their experiences.”
The presentation included a great deal of important and serious information.
One fifth-grader asked what to do to stay “out of the drama” in middle school. The older students shared their wisdom.
Johnson said, “In sixth-, seventh- or even eighth-grade you’re too young to get too serious with one person. Be friends with lots of people.”
Ysaguirre said, “You know who you should and shouldn’t hang around with. Avoid the people you know will be trouble. It’s good to get involved with sports because you’re busy and with good people.”
Alpers added, “Divide your time wisely: some time for homework, some time for sports and clubs. Academics should always come first.”
The fifth-graders took away many important ideas.
“I learned that middle school will be pretty fun and safe and that if we do the right things, we will stay out of trouble,” McKenzie Price said.