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Stuck in the Middle: Building Community - One Monday at a Time

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Stuck in the Middle: Building Community - One Monday at a Time
by Kal Russell - Sunday, 30 September 2018, 10:53 AM

Stuck in the Middle: Why We Come Together

Every Monday morning our school week starts with our Monday assembly.  Immediately after our teachers take attendance we head straight to the gym.

Assemblies are about building school community.  They last between fifteen to twenty minutes and they are our place to gather to share school news and celebrate school and student successes.  I compare it to the family meal.  It is our time to bond.  It is where you go from being a North Saanich Middle School student to becoming a Hawk! 

The assemblies are for everyone.  John Lennon and Paul McCartney would say,  it doesn't matter if you have “joo-joo eyeballs, hair down to your knees, monkey finger” on Mondays at NSMS we say a “Hawk know you, you know me, so we come together, right now.”

“Over me!”  I mean in the gym.  

All assemblies are student-led.  Grade 8 Public Speakers MC the activities.  This week alone we had eleven different students stand in front of their peers and speak or perform.  Amazing!  This takes great courage.  Have I ever told you how fearless middle school students are?  

Two grade 8’s MC'd the event, three drummed a traditional Indigenous song with Mr. Meyer to honour survivors of residential schools, two shared the song of the week and four students updated us on our Terry Fox fundraising.

When the four students from Division 3 came up to share how much money we had raised as a school for the Terry Fox Foundation, they each introduced themselves.  As is often the case in our school with multi-age grade 6/7 classes, the grade 7’s spoke first allowing the grade 6’s to follow.  Also very common was the fact that the grade 7 girl towered over the grade 6 boy.  But that didn’t shy him away from the microphone.  When it was his turn to speak, he confidently strode to the podium, pulled down the mic and spoke in a clear and calm voice.

I was envious of his confidence and fearlessness.  Even after all these years of public speaking in front of schools I can still get nervous when I have to speak in front of a crowd.

Not this young man.  As the group started to leave he made an abrupt turn and came back to the mic pulling it back down to his height and said, “And Go Hawks!” in a loud clear voice.  The whole school thought he was done as he back away from the mic and started to follow his classmates, but he caught us all off guard when he quickly returned to the mic, pulled it down again to his level and added, “And have a great year!”

The gym all clapped as they left the podium.  I beamed as I looked around the gym at our new cast of Hawks coming together.  

At North Saanich Middle School, we gather every Monday morning to celebrate being a Hawk.  Parents are always welcome.  You don’t “got to be good-looking” to come to the assembly, “cause” you're going to to be “so hard to see” in the crowd of students gathering to become a big family.  

And since it is early in the school year I wanted to end with one final thought.  Once again borrowed by someone I admire, “And have a great year!”

Go Hawks!