Life in the middle

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 23, 2010

The end of the school year means a new beginning is just around the corner, but for some used to life in the middle, the next step is a big one.

Members of the eighth-grade class at Robert Lewis Middle School are ready to take that next step in their education but they admit that the sight of the large Natchez High School campus makes them a little uneasy.

With just one more day of eighth grade left, Aaliyah Buchannan, 13, said she’ll relax this summer but knows as soon as August hits she’ll begin to worry about being a high school student.

“I’ve been over there to the school, but I’m still afraid about being able to find all of my classes,” she said. “If I don’t know the teacher, all the rooms look the same.”

But she thinks she’s made the most of her time at RLMS and is prepared to be a high school student.

“I’d tell next year’s eighth graders to make sure they learn as much as they can while they are here because I think that is going to make going to high school easier,” she said. “That’s what I tried to do.”

Classmate Akia Johnson, 14, isn’t as nervous about finding her classes, but does have a plan for mapping out her day.

“I’m going to find someone and have them tell me where each of my classes is,” she said.

But after finding their way at the new school, these students say there is still more to worry about. Johnson has set a personal goal to maintain an A average in high school and knows that will require a lot of studying and hard work.

“I can’t make anything less than an A,” she said. “In high school, all the work you do is in preparation for college. I’ll have to study more than I did here, but that’s my goal.”

Autry Clayton, 14, said his goal is to not make a C in any of his high school classes. He believes setting academic goals before classes start will help him stay focused when the school year is under way.

“I had to study at lot in eighth grade, so it is normal for me,” he said. “I know I’ll have to keep that up in high school.”

While he has high personal goals, one thing does worry him.

“My older sister, she was kind of the perfect student,” he said. “I want to make sure I get to be my own person and am not always compared to her.”

Clara Wimberly said she shares Clayton’s apprehension when it comes to siblings. She said while her brother was a good student, she hopes teachers get to know her before comparing her to him.

“My brother said he got on some teacher’s bad sides during high school, so I hope that doesn’t carry on to me,” she said.

But the soon-to-be high school freshmen aren’t just fretting. Some of the perks of being high school students do have them excited.

“They have pep rallies before every football game, I think,” Johnson said. “That’s going to be great.”

For others it is the variety of sports, clubs and activities to which they are looking forward.

Jared Fletcher, a RLMS basketball player, is ready to take his game to a bigger stage.

“We haven’t had try outs yet, but it’s going to be a big deal,” he said.

Buchannan already knows she will be dancing with the Natchez High dance team. A majorette at the middle school, she expects the crowds at high school football games to be larger than to those she is accustomed.

“There are a lot more people at the Natchez High games so that might make me a little nervous, but mostly I think I’ll be fine,” she said.

And even though they haven’t attended their first class as high school students yet, they have already heard warnings about some teachers.

“I trying to stay away from Coach Reed’s class,” Clayton said. “I’ve heard it is really hard.”

The last day of school is Monday.