As the school year draws to an end, there is a flurry of activity here at Brundrett Middle School. Actually, much of the year in middle school is a flurry of activity; in the spring it just intensifies. Here are some of the highlights and the reflections these events bring forth.
Thursday, May 24, is our eighth grade luncheon. This is a wonderful tradition where we have some great food, find a neat Port Aransas spot, and have a fitting meal to celebrate the passage of our eighth graders from middle school to high school.
This group of students has far-reaching potential to do wonderful things.
Not only did 95 percent of them pass the reading TAKS test, nearly half of them received a commended rating. We pride ourselves on striving for academic excellence, and these students have kept that tradition strong. We also have some very talented musicians, athletes and sportsmen in this group.
From this group of eighth graders we will award to one boy and one girl the coveted Jerry McDonald Citizenship Award. Jerry MacDonald was an outstanding young man from Port Aransas who died in service to his country in Vietnam. It is fitting that, as Memorial Day approaches, wehonor his memory by paying tribute to two children who likewise show outstanding citizenship and character. Deciding who should be the winner of this award was very difficult this year because there were truly so many outstanding candidates. I am sure the endeavors of this group at the high school will bring many more shining moments in the future. Next week we will take them "across the pond" for their high school orientation, and thus the next phase of their journey will begin.
We will have our awards ceremony next Thursday, May 31. It's meant to be a fast-paced thing that won't embarrass the students with excessive attention, nor wear them out with too much seat time, but will honor the special accomplishments they have racked up this year. We are very pleased with the students' academic progress and general development. When the TAKS results came in earlier, we threw a pizza party for the kids. A mountain of pizza was lined up and their teachers came around and served them. I wonder whether that, or the awards ceremony, makes them feel our appreciation more.
Band director Jim Cole has his annual pilgrimages with his talented middle school musicians all lined up as well. The sixth grade band will be enjoying a pool party at Port Royal Ocean Resort, the seventh and eighth graders will be trekking to Schlitterbahn Water Park in New Braunfels. It is a reward well deserved for these kiddos. Their spring band concert at the high school last Thursday was something to behold; from one end of the gym to the other the music flowed. I was privy to the first sounds the sixth graders made as an organized band this year; a beautiful thing indeed. To see their development through this year and the band students' development from grades six through 12 is truly amazing. For the final piece of the concert the student musicians switched places, seniors going to play with the sixth, seventh and eighth grade bands, and vice versa. It was a touching moment of remembrance and connectivity of experience.
Earlier this week we had our middle school talent show. Christine Kreutziger organizes this every year so the students can strut their stuff. It sure was great fun, as always, because we encourage the children to express a special, often hilarious, part of themselves.
We will welcome the fifthgraders as they come up here for their orientation next week. We'll take them around, show them their near future, and, hopefully, calm the nerves of any of them who are apprehensive about the change. This year's group of sixth graders has been a great one. It is very interesting to see the dynamics of change here at the middle school; in a few short years they change so much. From clustering together as nervous sixth graders, to ranging the halls as the king of the hill eighth graders, they go through a fascinating transformation.
Finally, on a personal note, I would like to thank everyone who has helped make my first year as middle school principal a great experience. We have a wonderful staff who understands the changes kids are going through, and still makes great academic and personal strides with them. The parents and community have been extremely supportive of the mission of doing right for students. It does take a village to raise a child, and this is a great little village with a great bunch of kids.
Bob Byrd is principal at Brundrett Middle School.