4th grade is the halfway mark on the Highlands K-8th grade journey. Many transitions occur during this vital year with the primary years behind them and the exciting middle school years just beyond the horizon. As we enter this halfway point in the 2020-2021 school year, we are asking a few of our 4th graders to reflect on their Highlands experience thus far and what they are most looking forward to in the second half of their journey.
Why Do You Like Being a Highlands Student?
“because they teach you so much more than basic school. They teach you to be kind, trustworthy, and responsible.” Highlands graduates are compassionate citizens marked by their leadership skills and global awareness. Check out the Highlands Portrait of a Graduate to find out more here
Brooklyn says, “because everyone has been so welcoming.” Eden echoed the same sentiment and shared, “because we learn a lot and you’re always welcome and treated kindly.” Highlands believes every student and faculty member should feel a sense of belonging at Highlands. We foster an appreciation of individual differences, an awareness of and openness toward ideas that differ from their own, and an understanding and appreciation of the backgrounds and experiences of all members of their communities.
Avina shared, “I like being a student at highlands because the campus is really nice. Also, the teachers are very kind. I also like being a student at highlands because lunch is GREAT.” This year more than ever, a priority for the Highlands team is to ensure our students get plenty of outdoor time. Students can enjoy brain breaks with their friends among the many green spaces our campus has to offer. Each day you’ll see students enjoying friendly games on the quad, teachers instructing on the big rock, and younger students going on a nature walk.
What is Your Favorite Highlands Memory?
Ben enjoys “playing football at recess.” Allowing time for kids to be kids is an important aspect of daily life at Highlands.
Besty says, “My favorite Highlands memory at Highlands is all of our pep rallies!” In previous years, pep rallies have been a Highlands tradition to celebrate our Blue Devil pride ahead of our Homecoming games. It’s a time when our school community gathers for dance parties, teacher versus student games, and to show our support for our Highlands athletes before their big games.
What Are You Most Looking Forward to on the Second Half of Your Highlands journey?
John shared that he’s excited to meet and work with the middle school teachers. Each middle school student is paired with a faculty mentor in our Highlands Advisory Program, which is a cross-grade program that gives students an opportunity to work with fellow students and an assigned advisor on areas such as self-image, building on strengths, increasing confidence, risk-taking, and other qualities central to Highlands’ whole-child philosophy.
Wyatt said he’s excited to “make it to more basketball championships!” Last year, the 5th-grade boy’s basketball team brought home the BRIAA championship trophy and our middle school boys team had a remarkable season making it all the way to the finals!
Juliana said, “8th grade because you get Fizzy Friday!” Our middle school Student Council organizes and facilitates fun aspects of the Highlands student environment, including the beloved tradition of Fizzy Friday – a special celebration complete with sodas and special treats.
Vivaan shared, "I am most looking forward to having fun STEM projects in 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades at Highlands.” We have two state-of-the-art STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) labs on campus. STEM lessons in all grades are student-centered and collaborative and include key reading and writing pieces along with creative thinking and collaboration. STEM education is interdisciplinary and is a powerful means to provide integrated learning.
Sara Louise is “looking forward to going on overnight trips”. Field trips are an incredible time of bonding and growth for our students. Every year, the Highlands faculty takes the entire middle school goes on a trip to Washington D.C., Philadelphia, or Boston. The 8th graders also get to experience an environmental science trip to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.
Alston said he’s looking forward to “being able to do more by myself”. The Highlands Middle School experience focuses on leadership, decision-making, and autonomy. As a 4K-8th grade program, we believe that creating a supportive environment in which our Middle School students can take risks, test personal limits and develop lasting values and interests is essential to producing valuable, change-making members of the community.
By instilling a love of learning as well as a sense of perseverance and determination in every student, Highlands produces graduates that are prepared and eager to take on new challenges and succeed in rapidly changing environments.
To learn more about the Highlands middle school experience, click here