Wide-eyed, excited, nervous students get a summer preview of middle school At Lindale-Brooklyn Park, first challenge is finding a classroom

July 28, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

They were 68 fidgety, almost-seventh-graders with nearly as many parents who seemed just as wide-eyed, excited and nervous. And the parents weren't the ones trying to find their way to classrooms at Lindale-Brooklyn Park Middle Schools Friday.

"I hate this!," shrieked Angela Nelson, 11, as she looked at her mock schedule -- art, home economics, music, science lab, gym, technical education, language arts and the cafeteria -- and tried to find the art classroom that a guide had taken her to earlier.

"Are you going to art?" she asked other children as they passed by. No luck. She sighed.

She kept wandering up and down hallways until at last she found the classroom. A tour guide quickly scribbled his initials next to the word "art," to show Angela had arrived there.

The guidance department at Lindale-Brooklyn Park has been offering tours this summer to help incoming seventh-graders make the transition from elementary to middle school. Although most middle schools have grades six to eight, Lindale-Brooklyn Park has only seven and eight.

"We try to take out some of the frustration and apprehension by doing our summer program," said Dee Wright, a guidance counselor at the school.

While their parents watched the video "How to Succeed In Middle School" in the library, the students headed for the auditorium, were Wright divided them into six groups and sent them on half-hour tours with student guides. When the children returned to the auditorium, Wright gave each one a mock class schedule and sent them off on their own to find their classrooms.

Heads down and clutching schedules, youngsters in T-shirts, shorts and jeans searched for classrooms. Anxious voices filled the hallways.

At last, they were in the cafeteria, where they got posters and juice and could buy combination locks and assignment books.

"It's like a maze going around here," said Kristie O'Brien, 12. "I'm going to have to find some short cuts."

Middle school "will be a big adventure" for her daughter, said Terrie O'Brien, Kristie's mother. And it won't be easy on her, either, she added.

"It's just finding where she gets on and off the bus, wondering if she's safe," said Terri O'Brien.

Pub Date: 7/28/96

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