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Frankfort fifth-graders sample Middle School

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LOCKERS: Frankfort Middle School eighth-grader Taylor Morgan, right, coaches Suncest Elementary fifth-graders on how to open a locker in preparation for the Suncrest kids’ move to FMS.
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GUIDES: Eighth-graders await their assigned tour groups Friday during the orientation of Suncrest Elementary fifth-graders to their next stop academically, Frankfort Middle School.
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TOUR TIME: Suncest Elementary fifth-graders get into their groups to learn about the next stop in their academic adventures – Frankfort Middle School.

BY SHARON BARDONNER - sbardonner@ftimes.com

Fifth-graders from Suncrest Elementary spent a few hours Friday visiting 15 different stations on their tour of the Frankfort Middle School, the next stop in their academic careers.

The younger kids began their walk-through by watching a video all together and then they were divided into groups to be escorted by FMS eighth-graders who have volunteered to be tour guides and role models during the orientation.

Time is also spent introducing the kids to the media center and the school’s various electronic resources.

About 85 eighth-graders participate in the orientation, either by leading a tour or staffing a station, said first-year Counselor Alicia DeWitt. 

According to the instruction sheet given out, “Remember, you are a role model and the fifth-grade students will be paying attention to your words and actions. Please be positive and encouraging. This is not a time to complain about teachers, rules, etc.”

The student guides are also encouraged to socialize with their charges, point out things of interest along the route and ensure that all students can hear what’s being said.

Counselor Greg Hines explained that all of the fifth-graders in the Community Schools of Frankfort are bused to FMS on different days for the tours.

Among the topics covered at the various stations are the exploratory courses offered, such as Spanish, Business, Art and Health; what a typical day is like, including when school starts, ends and how many periods there are. Students are also advised on where to catch their bus or what to do if they’re driven to school.

Stations also alert the soon-to-be sixth-graders on the different sports they can play, what activities and clubs are offered, pep band, orchestra and choir, how to find the bookstore, the main office, the principals’ and counselors’ offices and the school nurse.

As they move through the hallways, each group is encouraged to stop in classrooms to get a sense of the subjects offered and meet some of the teachers. 

One of the hands-on aspects of the introduction is how to open the padlocks on the lockers.

“They’re doing OK,” said DeWitt after a few groups had practiced with the padlocks. “The key thing is for them to learn they have to go all the way around, past the first number, before going to the second one.”

Both counselors said that the lockers induced the most fear in the incoming sixth-graders, but it wasn’t remembering their combinations they worried about, said DeWitt. 

“Every sixth-grader is nervous they will get stuffed into a locker,” she said. “But that has happened to only a few kids and that’s because they got in there themselves. It’s just a myth.”

“I’d like to see them try,” said Hines. “Someone has to be super short to fit in one.”

Students also are uncomfortable initially with the passing periods, said Hines.

“The hallways get really crowded, kids are going everywhere and they (the incoming sixth-graders) feel really small. We tell the tour guides to take them aside or to an alcove and talk to them about getting from class to class.”