DRY PRONG — Grant Junior High seventh- and eighth-graders started what will be their first or last year at the school this week and have big plans for how to make the most of it.
Students returned to school Wednesday across Grant Parish, including at the junior high in Dry Prong where teachers like Emily Kitchen and April Bonner waited at the door to say “Happy first day, seventh-grade” and “Welcome back, eighth-grade.” It was a short day with students dismissed at noon.
“We’re going to have a good year,” Principal Robert Smith told about 400 students who gathered in the school’s gym before being dismissed by class.
Smith encouraged every student “to get involved” at school and recognized Grant’s football team, cheer squad and other groups who did so even during the summer because of practices.
Students return to school Wednesday morning at Grant Junior High School and are greeted by teacher April Bonner (left). (Photo: Miranda Klein/The Town Talk)
Students return to school Wednesday morning at Grant Junior High School. (Photo: Miranda Klein/The Town Talk)
“(Getting involved) is what makes this work,” he said.
Some, like seventh-grader Mackenzie Morgan and eighth-graders Aubrey Jones, Hannah Mobley and Kelsey Bradshaw, won’t need to be told twice. Morgan will play for the school’s basketball team and the other girls will stay involved through cheer.
The three older girls will move to Grant High School located next door, but they plan to appreciate where they are now.
“I think I’ll cherish it (being here) more this year,” Mobley said.
“I’m kind of used to it here now,” Morgan said. “But I’m excited for high school.”
(From left) Eight-graders Aubrey Jones, Kelsey Bradshaw, Hannah Mobley and seventh-grader Mackenzie Morgan talk about their first day back at Grant Junior High School (Photo: Miranda Klein/The Town Talk)
Grant Junior High has implemented new literacy and technology programs, which will continue to be a focus this year.
Smith said the school encourages reading through the Accelerated Reader program and some creative ways not tied to their grades.
“We encourage them to read through other incentives,” Smith said.
The school has a patio and outdoor furniture where students can read after lunch, for example. Starting this year the school will receive a visit from “mystery guests” each Friday to read to students.
The school also recently adopted a “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device) policy in some classes to keep up with technology, and Smith said those must be taught by Google-certified teachers. His goal is to have all Grant Junior High teachers certified next year.
“For a rural parish, we’re trying to do a lot of innovative things,” Smith said.
Grant Junior High serves more than 400 students within a 30- to 40-mile radius, Smith said.
Source: The Town Talk