Hamlet Middle School offered incoming students a unique orientation experience on Thursday, in the hopes of building their confidence as they enter into a new type of school environment.
“We have about 180 sixth graders coming into the school this year,” said Linda Robinson, who helped organize the event at the school. “Not all of them came today, but the ones who did will have an advantage.”
New students started the morning by meeting Principal Jim Butler and watching a PowerPoint slide show about the school.
After that, the activities kicked into high gear and groups of cheerleaders herded the new kids around to different parts of the school.
Kids had the chance to learn how to open their lockers, and compete in locker races for prizes.
“This is the first year the students will have lockers, and that can be intimidating,” said teacher Joanna Robertson, who spearheaded the new orientation. Robertson said she heard of a similar orientation at a South Carolina school and thought it was a great idea.
“Coming to middle school can be such a culture shock for the kids,” said Robertson. “They will have to change classes on their own, the classrooms are spread out, they now have lockers and they will now have six teachers instead of just two. It’s a lot to take in.”
Kids were sent on scavenger hunts around the school to find things like: the principal’s autograph; number of windows in the media center; number of computers in the computer labs; how many sixth grade teachers are at the school; the location of the chorus and band rooms; the number of water fountains at the school; and other school trivia.
“Door prizes were donated by different community members,” said Robinson. “We just want the kids to have the opportunity to get to know the school, and feel comfortable in the new environment.”
Robertson said she’s had great responses from parents and kids about the new orientation.
Aug. 27 is the first day for Richmond County students to begin the new school year, with the exception of Richmond Early College High School which has already begun.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.