Middle School, Youth Need to find a Connection

Posted by Nelson Weston on

Middle school can be a trying time students.  Youth are becoming more independent, can have strong peer influences as they try to fit in, and, for many students, the path to dropping out begins in middle school. That being said, it is imperative that all students, regardless of their grade level, be granted access to a solid and worthy educational experience. In doing so, it not only grants them access to a more positive future, but it also enables them to create life long memories to cherish. I know this because I, to this day, still am able to recall phenomenal memories from middle school.

Personally, middle school was not the most enjoyable phase of my educational career. I wasn't "Mr. Popularity", I didn't quite fit into any social cliques and I was somewhat shy. However, there were certain aspects of school that I always looked forward to and, to a certain degree, reveled in on a daily basis. In middle school, I took up Band as a related arts in my academic schedule and I played the trumpet all three years. Our Band program was one of the most successful and popular programs at the school.  At the helm was Mrs. Bauer, a strong director who was a formidable figure within the musical community.  She believed in us and always motivated us to strive for excellence, and we did.

I felt a sense of connection and belonging whenever I entered the band room. I recall how on Thursday and Friday mornings Mrs. Bauer would hold a session where we would play musical chorales for about half an hour before school began. Even though it was voluntary, I always felt a sense of obligation to be there and I took great pleasure in it as well. It was one of the few times of the day that overwhelmingly made me happy.   This class made me want to go to school.

During class, Mrs. Bauer would frequently challenge us all to put in the necessary amount of practice time to be competitive in the Middle School Orchestra Festival, which was held every year and featured band students from across the county. Like many of my band mates, I would take my instrument home and practice several nights out of the week. Although I would get ranked at a decent level at the festival, I never quite made it to the next competitive level which was States. In hindsight, I wasn't too concerned about not advancing to the next level, all I cared about was having fun, competing and making memories.


I was lucky; I had a Champion who helped motivate me to succeed in middle school.  Hopefully this blog may motivate someone to become an American Graduate Champion and influence a child’s life so they can succeed as well.

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