My Holy Trinity Memories

The following piece is part of a five-week series on speeches given by Holy Trinity sixth graders at their Moving Up Ceremony. Read as our students look back at their experiences and memories at the Lower School and look ahead to new opportunities at the Upper School.

By Raina Wamsley, Rising Seventh Grader

I came to Holy Trinity in sixth grade. This year has been my favorite out of all my school years. My teachers were very welcoming and nice, and all the students are super friendly. I will never forget all the things I have learned at Holy Trinity. I have done more in one school year than I have done in all the others combined! From doing many different experiments in science class with Mrs. Boates to reading six books with Mrs. Cotton, I will always cherish the fun things we did and the memories I have made here.

One of my favorite memories from sixth grade was the field trip to Wekiva Springs. I had so much fun canoeing and fossil hunting with my friends! We even got to swim in the springs! The funniest moment of that trip was when Kiki was pushing our canoe off a sandbar. When she got back in the canoe it was off balance and we tipped. It was extremely funny, and we were soaking wet! Another one of my favorite memories was winning the basketball championship game. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without our amazing coaches Mrs. Boates and Mrs. Williams.! It was a very intense game, and the team did a great job under the pressure. I miss basketball season!

I’m going to miss the Lower School so much! I will especially miss the teachers. Holy Trinity is a very special place where you can learn and have fun at the same time. I learned a few lessons this year. You have to study a lot for math; don’t wait until the last minute to do projects: plan them out so you don’t stress about them; and the teachers will always be there to support you.

My year at Holy Trinity Lower School has been a memorable one. Thank you!

So You Are Heading to Junior High…

By Kathy Peters, Director of Junior High Academics & Advising

Energy…Excitement….New friends….Choices……CHANGE…

For some families, moving from elementary school to junior high school is often as great an adjustment as leaving home for college. Why?

First, the structure of the day changes. Rather than having one or two teachers and a comfortable homeroom base to work from and return to, most students will now have 7 or 8 class periods each day. Learning to make quick transitions every 45 minutes or so and move fluidly on a schedule takes some finesse.

Next, the sheer number of people to interact with daily can be daunting. More friends, new friends, more teachers, and additional school personnel. Trying to remember who teaches what, who wanted you to bring 50 notecards tomorrow, and who to ask about your jammed lock can stump the best of us.

Then there is all of the stuff to keep track of. Keep it in a locker? Carry it all with you?  Bring a lunch or buy lunches? What to do with all of the sports practice equipment and my tuba?

Lastly, the overarching theme of junior high—“What are my friends doing, wearing, studying, playing, watching, etc.”

Here are a few tips for survival:

Visit the school campus before the year begins. Find out about drop off and pick up routes, walk the halls and locate the junior high classrooms.  Point out restrooms and water fountains and the cafeteria to your child. Consider the campus in all types of weather so your student can stay comfortable and dry. Be sure shoes and backpacks are sturdy and comfortable.

Cement one really good friendship for your child during the summer before junior high. Remember the angst we all felt when we walked into that new cafeteria and wondered where to sit, and more importantly who to sit with? It still happens. Having one solid friend to count on will help to navigate that as well as the many ups and downs of typical junior high relationships.

Buy only the essentials in clothing or uniforms and school supplies to start the year. Junior high students grow quickly and fads and trends change just as rapidly. That very expensive backpack or shoe may fade from popularity by the end of September.

Work with your child to develop organizational strategies. Keeping up with all of the assignments, papers, tests and due dates can be overwhelming at first. Find out if your school uses an online system for homework/assignments and get familiar with it. Encourage your child to use a planner and write things down. Color code the book covers and folders for each class. (Everything for English is blue, Math is green, etc.) Label things with your child’s full name. Consider using disposable water bottles and paper or plastic lunch bags if your child finds keeping track of personal items to be a challenge. Make a small emergency pen, pencil and paper kit to be stored in the locker.

Get involved in the life of the school. Yes, you can still volunteer. Many sports and music programs rely on parent support and involvement, and many teachers also still appreciate a helping hand with special activities or projects. If you are working full-time, offer to send in project supplies or snacks. Many schools offer parent coffees or book study groups. Plan to attend- especially if it your first year in a new school.

Communicate- Most teachers prefer email as it is easier to respond to during the busy pace of school days. Teach your student how to ask questions of adults, and empower him/her to do much of the communicating with teachers. If you make a conference appointment with the teacher, your child should attend also.   Subscribe to school newsletters, get to know a group of parents, and offer to drive a group of students to the many activities that they want to attend. Get a wipe off calendar that your child can use to learn long range planning and coordinating all activities.

Above all, try to relax and enjoy this time. Junior high doesn’t last forever. (A useful phrase for both good and bad days, by the way) Take advantage of mistakes to teach problem solving and help your child to stretch and branch out in new directions. Encourage joining clubs and sports to try things out. Find ways to point out all of the things your child is learning so they can take pride in their own accomplishments. Be prepared to be amazed at how much your child is going to mature and change, while remembering that growth can be bumpy, messy and surprising.

Wishing each of you a great year in junior high!

How to Survive your Summer Reading Assignments

By Kathy Peters, Director of Junior High Academics & Advising

1. START NOW! Do not put this off until the last minute. Resolve to read at least 20 pages a day, or for 20 minutes a day until you have finished. Make a daily reading plan or calendar and hang it on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator so you will see it every day.

2. If you really dislike reading here are some things to try:

  • Get an app like Audible and listen to the books you are required to read.
  • Partner up with a friend and read together.
  • Set a timer for 20 minutes; read, and then reward yourself with something you like after you finish. (favorite snack or drink, screen time or outside fun)
  • Start a literary circle or friendly competition with a group of friends. Meet at a fun place like Starbucks or the beach to read and discuss the books.
  • Ask a parent, grandparent or older sibling to read along with you.
  • Go online to look at reviews, summaries and videos before you start reading to help you understand what the required book or books will be about.

3. If you love to read and are a fast reader, you will likely gobble up any required books quickly, and have no trouble completing any additional or supplemental books. This is fine, but you will need to go back right before school starts and skim through the required books again as you review and take some detailed notes. It is wise for all of us to adjust our reading rate to a slower, steadier pace when we are reading material that we will be tested on or will have to write about.

4. Take notes! Write down names of important people and places, key points and main events as you read. Nonfiction required books are usually full of names, dates, places and details. If you own the book, underline and mark up the book as you go. I usually jot down page numbers of significant plot events on the last page of the book to refer back to. If you don’t own the book, make notes on paper as you go. Details are important and you will need supporting textual examples to respond to in class discussions, and on any written assessment about the book. Don’t worry about trivial things like the color of someone’s shirt. Note details that will support the ideas that you are developing about the main character, where the plot is going and how the author is using literary devices to keep you hooked and reading.

5. For fictional books, your notes should track significant developments in the plot, (what happened?) attributes or thoughts of the main character (how the character responds), and the use of literary devices to drive or develop the plot. (Examples of symbolism, foreshadowing, metaphor, etc.) Also, talk back to the book, and make note of your questions. Talk to your friends about the book. We all respond to literature in different ways and take away different things from what we are reading.

6. Be sure you can answer these questions about fictional books:

  • Setting: where/when does the book take place?
  • Main character (s): Protagonist (force for good) and antagonist  (force for evil)
  • Major plot events: big events that move the book forward
  • Main conflict in the story: between people? Forces in nature? With an animal, place or object?  Within the character’s own mind?
  • Climax or turning point in the book –peak of the action
  • Resolution- solution to the conflict or problem

7. Consider keeping a double entry journal that will help you recall details and support points you make if you are asked to write an essay. Here is a format to use:

Quote or fact from book Page number Your comment, thoughts or response
“After the stroke of midnight, all that the Prince could find that remained of the beautiful Cinderella was one glass slipper.” p. 11 Will he be able to use it to find her?

If it was really a glass slipper, why didn’t it break when it fell off?

Building materials: hay, straw, sticks, bricks p.14 Wolf lacked enough lung power to blow down the brick home
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