Archive for Thursday, May 31, 2007

School ends; trepidation begins

Students changing schools in fall face worries about new experiences

May 31, 2007

As school comes to an end, summer fun has just begun, but for many of the students in the current third- and fifth-grade classes, a hint of fear and excitement has begun to settle in as the thought of the upcoming school year becomes only three short months away.

For the students of these two grade levels, this is a time of transition. It's a time to leave behind their younger years and continue their climb up the Lansing school system ladder.

The third graders left Lansing Elementary School last week for the last time as students and will return in August to the Intermediate School as fourth-graders. For Taylor Mortsolf, Lansing third-grader, the change couldn't come sooner.

In her future she said she sees more classes on new, interesting subjects, more A's to earn and, most importantly, she can't wait to get started on a library with more books to devour.

"It's huge and awesome," she said describing her new library at the Intermediate School.

Taylor said she isn't nervous to move up to fourth grade. She said she was mostly excited because she had been hearing so many good qualities about the school from her teachers and older siblings.

However, Taylor's twin sister, Brooke Mortsolf, isn't quite as excited.

"I feel kind of nervous going to a different building," Brooke said. "I don't know how the teachers are going to be."

Brooke described herself as shy and said she worried about having to make new friends all over again. Brooke said she looked forward to the fun activities she'd heard about but admitted that fourth grade sounded like a lot more work.

One third-grader who can't wait for more challenging work is Richard Totleben. He said he loved homework and felt good about getting just as many A's in fourth grade as he did in third grade.

Richard said he felt prepared for the transition thanks to his teacher, Susy Carpenter, who's been talking with him and the other students about what to expect and what they could study over the summer to be even more prepared.

For the fifth-graders, the transition into middle school is even greater as they begin dealing with lockers, classes being in several different rooms and more responsibility with homework.

Marianne Walker, Lansing Intermediate School counselor, said so far she had seen a mixture of students who were scared about the change and others who were excited.

To deal with some of her students' nerves, Walker said the middle school conducted an orientation where the incoming students could take a tour and meet the principal and teachers to ask questions. She said the orientation showed the students they weren't the only ones who were nervous about the changes.

"The biggest adjustment I think will be the increased responsibility with classes and switching teachers," she said.

Eli Dossey, Lansing fifth-grader, agreed and said he didn't know how he was going to get to his locker and back to class during the four-minute passing period. He said the orientation helped a lot because he doesn't have any older siblings to give him advice. Although he knows the schoolwork will be more challenging, he said he expected it and was ready because that's just the way learning worked.

Jasmine Hill, another Lansing fifth-grader, can't wait for middle school so she can join after-school clubs. Jasmine said she already knew a lot of people at the middle school, thanks to her older brother, so she is excited to finally join them.

She did admit there were a few downfalls to middle-school life she wasn't looking forward to.

"You have to cut down on your play time," she said with a laugh.

But despite that drawback, Jasmine said she was looking forward to all of the new opportunities she will have to get involved with in the middle school, such as band, pep club and student council.

Being that there are so many positives and negatives involved with moving up to a new school, Walker said it was important for students to stay true to who they were and to work hard to keep their loyal friends close for support.

Walker's closing advice as many of her students moving on was to keep on top of their schoolwork and improve their organization skills. She said they should not let themselves fall behind and to not ever be afraid to ask for help when needed.

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