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Meridian fifth-graders get a taste of middle school life

By Staff
MATH PROGRAM Hayley Shirley, left, school counselor, and Deborah Brown, a math teacher, explain the math program at Magnolia Middle School to parents of fifth graders during a Tuesday night orientation. The fifth graders will advance to Magnolia next year. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie/staff writer
Feb. 6, 2002
When Derricas Martin heard the Magnolia Chorus perform last year at his fifth-grade orientation, he knew he wanted to be a part of it.
On Tuesday, Martin, 12, now in the sixth grade at Magnolia Middle School, performed with other chorus members to show this year's fifth graders what it is like and spur interest in the class.
The Tuesday performance was part of Magnolia Middle School's orientation on Monday and Tuesday for this year's fifth graders who will advance next year to middle school.
For some students, the change of campus next year will be their first. So both of Meridian's middle schools are making the transition as informative and stress-free as possible.
Besides the student orientation, Magnolia also sponsored a parent orientation Tuesday night. Plus, parents of fifth graders must help their children decide which classes to take next year.
The big event, though, was the orientation for fifth-grade students who now attend Parkview, Poplar Springs, West Hills and Witherspoon elementary schools.
They had a chance to tour the school and see performances by the Magnolia beginning band and school chorus, as well as skits from Explore, physical education and Spanish students. Fifth graders also visited with students in various clubs.
Shirley will visit fifth graders in class next week and help them fill out their class schedule cards, which students must have their parents sign.
Carver Middle School counselor Charlette Trotter said her school is doing similar things with fifth graders at Crestwood, Oakland Heights and Harris upper elementary schools.
Fifth-graders who will attend Carver next year will tour the school after spring break.
Magnolia's band director, David McKinney, likes the orientation process because he has a chance to introduce the band to fifth graders, teach them something about the instruments and start recruiting new members early.
Students who start band will try every instrument before deciding on what they want to play, he said, "so they don't start with one thing and find out they don't like it."
McKinney hopes to take his second-year band students to the elementary schools to play in an attempt to drum up more interest in the program.
Said Shirley: "It's good for parents to talk to their child and decide what they will take because it's a commitment for a year."