WEB program off and spinning at KMS

 - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

KINGSTON — The transition for first time middle school students into Kingston Middle School has exceeded even the highest expectations.

With more than 60 eighth graders at KMS reaching out to 260 of their sixth grade counterparts, the elder students are making sure the newly created middle school is indeed “Where Everybody Belongs.”

August, marked the start of the WEB program at KMS.

The mentoring system was created to assist students arriving in the hallways of middle school for the first time.

Eighth grader Chazz Zacharof said he chose to become a WEB leader so he could welcome and assist younger students.

“I wanted to help the younger kids coming to school,” he said. “I wanted them to feel more comfortable.”

Eighth grade WEB leader Kristine Bacon said she got involved because she remembered what it was like entering a new school.

“It was really scary. I was pretty nervous,” she said. “I didn’t know where anything was. That’s the reason why I wanted to help out the (incoming) sixth graders now. I know from personal experience what it was like being new at school.”

Having a WEB leader to lean on was something sixth grader Troiahna Williams said she was thankful for during the first days of school in September.

“I didn’t know where the gyms were at and I had a lot of other questions that (my WEB mentor) helped me out with,” she said.

Fellow sixth grader John Briggs had a similar experience, but felt better after his orientation session in which he met his WEB leader a few days before school began.

“I wasn’t that comfortable going into the school year, but after going to that I felt a lot more comfortable. I was glad we had that before school started,” he said.

Williams said she’s happy to have the older students take an active interest in her and her classmates.

“I love the idea that older kids are willing to spend time with us to make us feel comfortable and help settle us in,” she said. “They ask us a lot of questions, play games with us, and like to talk to us. They are really nice.”

KMS counselor Doug Segur said the program has already made a difference in the first month of school.

“What really impresses me most about this program is the difference it makes in making the sixth graders feel welcomed into their new school,” he said. “Starting middle school is a scary transition for most kids and WEB makes it so much less so by giving the students a very positive experience at school before school even starts. That alone makes it worth all the work.”

Eighth graders aspiring to become WEB leaders had to go through 10 hours of training during the summer. After the sessions were completed, orientation in which sixth graders met their WEB leaders took place a few days before school began.

“It was a great time. WEB leaders had lunch with sixth grade students, played games and broke off into groups for fun activities,” Segur said. “WEB leaders have contact with the students they are mentoring three to five times a month. When they meet they organize social events, teach study skills and discuss what it takes to be successful.”

Segur said he was impressed with what he has seen thus far in the first month of the WEB program.

“For a first year program, it’s been pretty solid,” he said. “I’m impressed with the caliber of the WEB leaders. We’ve already received positive comments from the parents of sixth grade students with regards to the program. It’s a good start to the school year.”

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