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SEMS tries to give new students a sixth-grade sense
SEMS sixth grade
Gerald Kessler and David Lariscy got a jumpstart on the sixth grade through South Effingham Middle School’s two-day camp last week for some of its students. - photo by Photo by Sandi Van Orden

Sixth graders at South Effingham Middle School spent two days last week becoming familiar with the teachers and the school they will be attending this year.

Amanda Kessler, assistant principal at SEMS, said the school decided to have the two-day camp to allow incoming students a way to get familiar with the school before the year begins.

“What we decided to have a sixth grade camp to get the kids in here to get to know the school, to get to see the teachers, to become familiar and to get to know each other since they come from three different elementary schools,” she said.

Kessler said some students have been at the same elementary school for six years.

“That can be intimidating besides the whole middle school thought, the friend issue,” she said. “When they get here we have three teams of sixth graders.”

Kessler said when they come to middle school they could be in different classes than their friends from elementary school.

“We wanted to do something to help with that adjustment,” she said, “and to help get them acclimated to middle school, and to be more comfortable and not so anxious about it.”

Kessler said it also allows the students to spend more time with the teachers they will have than they would have at open house.

Gloria Young, a sixth grade special education teacher, said the camp was to help with the transition to middle school

“It is a difficult transition from fifth grade to sixth grade,” Young said.

She said there are more classes and more responsibility placed on the students. Young said students are required to be respectful.

“The social interaction in middle school can be volatile,” Young said.

She said students are not only at school to learn information from the classes.

“Students come to school to learn to be good citizens,” Young said.

Young said even though there was a small group at the camp, it will allow those students to be familiar with the school and teachers and to help their friends when school starts.

Incoming sixth-grader David Lariscy said he was able to meet some teachers and made glue in the science class.

Gerald Kessler, an incoming sixth grade student, said it was fun.

“It’s been really fun getting to know everyone else,” he said.

Both the students said they are most looking forward to participating in the band when school starts.