Mid-year printed edition: The Privat Report looks forward to sixth grade

PMS — Colonial School’s sixth grade graduates have experienced an extremely busy year so far in their new school. There has been lots to learn in every subject. Pelham Middle School is very different from Colonial, or any other elementary school in Pelham.

The sixth graders had to get used to how their new school works. There are different periods that the students have to switch to every 45 minutes. The sixth grade class is divided into two teams–A and B–and each team is taught by one group of teachers. The whole grade eats lunch during the same period, so if your friend is on the other team, you can always see her or him at lunch time.

There are several differences and similarities between Pelham Middle School and Colonial. Some are good, while others are bad.

In the middle school, the students have a morning binder and an afternoon binder. They carry these to their classes and keep all their handouts, worksheets and other papers in them.

According to one of the sixth graders, the beginning of the year is mostly review, especially in math. Grant Ulto, a Colonial graduate, said, “I love it. I like it better because I gained a lot more freedom, and you have more things to do.” His advice for middle school is not to get worried because you will always know at least one person in each class.

Another difference is that it’s really crowded in the hallways and after school at dismissal. When you’re trying to get to your locker, it can be very chaotic as you collect your stuff. Also, the middle school has an assistant principal as well as a regular principal. The library was described by many sixth graders as three times bigger than the one at Colonial.

There are also similarities between the two. Of course, the middle school and Colonial are both schools that have teachers and kids. There are lockers in the hallways, although the ones at Colonial don’t have locks. Orchestra and band are available in both schools. Let’s not forget, there are also quizzes and tests, though there are a whole lot more at PMS.

“Well, there is much more space to move around in, instead of being in one classroom the entire day,” said Colonial graduate and sixth grader Tess Darrow. “At the middle school, you are changing classes and that is really great.”

The fifth graders at Colonial are excited but also nervous to enter middle school next year. The fifth graders will be transformed from being the oldest in the school to the youngest. They will be the Kindergartners of the middle school. Some of the kids are nervous because they are going to a much bigger school where they’ll see the new faces of students from the three other Pelham elementary schools. They will also have so much more responsibility.

The fifth graders say they are excited, though. They can’t wait to meet new friends and have several different teachers. Many kids are looking forward to all the great things about middle school like the lunch, greater space and changing classes. Middle school is going to be a big step, but a lot of people are really excited for these things.

Lily Childs, a fifth grader in Mr. Alex Ventura’s class, wants to go to PMS “so I can find new friends. But I’m also nervous. I want to have a fresh start.”

The sixth graders who graduated from Colonial warned kids to not upset certain teachers. Most said they enjoyed things like the big cafeteria and being able to walk to classes without a teacher “tagging along.”

“It’s hard the first couple of days,” said Claudia Dodge, a Colonial graduate and former sports editor of this paper. “Don’t get lost.”

“Every room is a different temperature,” explained Kristina Roksvold, also a graduate and news editor last year.

Lots of the sixth graders had bits of advice to offer curious Colonial students. For example, Manon Bushong, A&E editor of the Colonial Times in the 2011-12 school year, said to not forget your locker combination.

Tess Darrow said to get ready for lots of work and to get organized. She also said to eat up at lunch because it’s at 10:30 a.m. and you can get hungry by the end of the day.

According to the sixth graders, one of the good things is the food you get, even if it is early in the day. Apparently, they have everything, or nearly everything, in the cafeteria.

“What I like most about middle school is that you get to have more choices at lunch,” said Colonial graduate Patrick Zahradnik. “That’s the funnest thing for me.”

Some other good things are that you make lots of new friends and get to meet several different teachers. Many of the students have also been enjoying the “space.”

After several interviews with different kids, it’s clear the bad things about middle school included tiny lockers, being the youngest again, the amount of quizzes and homework, and the lunch lines.

Colonial graduate Adie Howey said the worst part of PMS is “in gym, when you get whacked in the head with hands, hockey sticks and stuff.”

(Ella De Young contributed reporting to this story.)

This story originally appeared in the print edition of the Colonial Times.