Don't forget to ROAR, teachers and staff at Bell Middle School told students on the first day of school. But this is something they will remind them to do periodically throughout the school year. …
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Don't forget to ROAR, teachers and staff at Bell Middle School told students on the first day of school.
But this is something they will remind them to do periodically throughout the school year. Bell Bobcats should be ROARing — Respectful, Optimistic, Accountable and Responsible — every day.
About 715 sixth- and seventh-graders had their first day of school on Aug. 16. The eighth-graders, about 255 students, started school on Aug. 17.
There's always some anxiety on the first day of school, said Principal Michele DeAndrea-Austin, but also always a lot positive energy. Kids get bored by about mid-summer, so they're ready to see their friends and meet their teachers by the time school starts again, DeAndrea-Austin said.
It goes both ways, she added.
“The teachers are excited to have them back,” she said. “They've been prepping all summer long to have them here.”
For example, music teacher Elizabeth-Ann Rowlison is looking forward to teaching something new this year. She has taught choir for the past two years at Bell and this year she is also taking on a drama class.
“I'm excited for the challenge,” she said. It's “a new way to engage kids in the arts.”
Sixth-graders Campbell Copt and Antonio Miranda attended Kyffin Elementary last year and ate their lunch together on their first day at Bell.
The day ranked at about eight or nine out of 10, Copt said. “This school is very big and there's a lot to explore.”
Bell underwent some remodels over the summer, which made for improved and additional classroom space, but the biggest thing for students is getting a locker for the first time.
“You can put all your stuff in it and not worry about it getting stolen,” said Gwyneth Nelson, a seventh-grader who finished the sixth grade at Welchester Elementary last year.
Having different rooms for different classes is cool, too, said her friend Macy Dale, also a seventh-grader who went to Maple Grove Elementary. Although the two attended different elementary schools, they met and became friends about a year ago through other community connections.
But “some of the kids don't know anyone at all,” said Henry Stubenrauch, an eighth-grade TEAM leader. “Getting to know everybody is really important, so that's what we're trying to do.”
His fellow TEAM leader Ryan Jones agreed. TEAM stands for Together Everyone Achieves More.
“It's more about getting to know people, rather than the school,” Jones said. “School's a lot easier when you have someone to go through it with.”
For Anna Weinberg, also one of about 60 eighth-graders who spent Aug. 16 as a team leader, it was about both.
“Today's been a lot of getting to know the school,” Weinberg said, meaning “familiarizing them with the environment and being back in school.”
The TEAM leaders are the new students' support system and serve as someone for them to reach out to for help, said TEAM leader Kira Starick.
“It can be really stressful on the first day of school,” Starick said. “Some of the kids were upset and didn't know where to go. We helped them learn that school should be fun.”
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