ATHENS, WV (WOAY) – Middle school can be a nerve-racking transition for many especially if several elementary schools are feeding into one middle school. However, principals, like Sun Valley’s Teresa Guill, in six different Mercer County schools want to alleviate those nerves by allowing their fifth graders to get to know students from other schools beforehand.
“When you have 22 fifth graders in a small school like Sun Valley and you’re sending them to a bigger school and a middle school with new students, you know, we wanted to do something to ease those fears so, I called the other principals that feed into PikeView Middle and we’re getting our students together.”
Fifth graders from Oakvale, Lashmeet Matoaka, Sun Valley, Spanishburg, Athens and Melrose Elementary Schools, or Team Olssam as they were called Tuesday, gathered at Concord University to meet their new classmates for next year.
The day was full of games and team-bonding activities, even a zombie-themed escape room, but it wasn’t just about the games. Throughout this semester the students have been writing to their pen pals at the other schools and the event on Tuesday gave them the opportunity to meet for the first time.
“They’re allowed to write about their families, their dogs, their cats, whatever they want to write about. We let them do that because we want to build relationships and what better way to build a relationship than to find out about each other and what they’re doing that through letters and writing letters, so that’s so important because the students are writing while having fun, building relationships and that’s always an important skill to write and write letters,” Guill said.
Because of this brand new program and the opportunity to come together, now when they enter into their new school next year, they will have a friend.
“I’ll know at least one person there so that’s helpful,” on fifth grader, Stevie, said.
“It’s better to know someone than no one,” Samuel added.
Those involved say they will continue to do these types of events throughout the year.