MARILYN HAGERTY: One of life’s great challenges: middle school
Being the coolest student in middle school doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. That’s because it changes all the time, according to Rachel Trenne. And she ought to know. She just finished three years of middle school at Schroeder and is moving on to high school at Red River this week.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
Being the coolest student in middle school doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.
That’s because it changes all the time, according to Rachel Trenne. And she ought to know. She just finished three years of middle school at Schroeder and is moving on to high school at Red River this week.
She would like to tell younger students entering middle school that’s more important to be nice and treat others with respect and kindness.
“If you’re going to worry, don’t worry about popularity. Worry about the way you treat people.”
Those were her words in a letter she wrote last spring. Her teacher, Jan Monley, thought they were worth passing on.
That’s because middle school is one of life’s greatest challenges and it looms large this week. Nobody takes the students by the hand as they did at the beginning of kindergarten.
Instead, it’s a huge step for those who finished fifth grade in Grand Forks in May are moving into middle school at Valley, Schroeder and South.
The words written by Rachel Trenne reflect her feelings of moving up the ladder. This week, she is going into ninth grade. She wrote her advice last spring to make middle school more enjoyable for sixth graders.
“If I could tell you one thing, it would be to do your own homework. As easy as it is to cheat, it will be much harder when the test or quiz rolls around.
“Popularity is fleeting,” she wrote. “Being nice is not. Treat others with respect and kindness,” she said in part. “Don’t worry about who the coolest person is because, trust me, it changes all the time.”
Rachel makes a case for middle schoolers to use the Golden Rule and treat others the way they want to be treated. “Don’t talk behind people’s backs. Don’t do things to make them look bad. And don’t spread rumors.”
Kindness, she wrote, would make middle school and all of life so much easier.
“As weird as it may seem,” she wrote, “in the next three years many of you will be offered alcohol, easy access to illegal drugs and be pressured into doing things you don’t want to do.
“Make sure you stay true to yourself and make decisions you can live with…. Listen to your mom and dad. They really do have your best interest at heart.”
From here on, Rachel tells new middle schoolers they will have more opportunities. She suggests, “Get out of your comfort zone. Try new things. Make new friends.”
In middle school, Rachel wrote, “You’re going to change, don’t be afraid of that. Don’t be worried if you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, you have plenty of time to decide.
“Have fun,” she concluded. “Enjoy being this age. It can really be hard, but it can be fun as well. Make the most of it.”
Rachel has an older brother, Ben, who will be a junior at Red River this year. Her parents, Paul and Karen Trenne, are Lutheran ministers.
She is entering high school with a jest for dance, cheerleading and playing softball. She’s hoping to find a place in DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) and student council at Red River.
She has taken part in Summer Performing Arts and worked with the news team at Schroeder. She was among those at the National Youth Conference in New Orleans this summer. While there, she donated 8 inches of hair to the Children With Hair Loss cause.