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Horizon Huskies celebrate transition from elementary to middle school

HCMS 6th grade orientation“Today’s such an exciting day at Horizon!”

Dr. Brad Weinhold, principal of Horizon Community Middle School, was looking forward to Horizon’s sixth-grade orientation on Aug. 11.

“It’s all about core values,” he said, referring to the Cherry Creek School District’s five Core Values – Growth Mindset, Equity, Whole Wellbeing, Engagement and Relationships. “Relationships defined. We will engage students and make sure they have the opportunity to really flourish and thrive at our school this year.”

However, incoming sixth graders Addisyn Brown and Aaliyah DeBose were feeling both anticipation and apprehension when they arrived for orientation.

“I’m feeling really nervous and also excited because I’m at a new school,” said Brown, who previously attended Sunrise Elementary School.

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and getting to see more of the school,” said DeBose, who also attended Sunrise.

The two were among some 350 new sixth graders who will be attending Horizon starting next week. Weinhold said the transition from elementary to middle school is a critical one in a youngster’s life, so Horizon goes out of its way to make the transition fun, smooth and successful.

“It’s such a good opportunity to really embrace what community means,” he said.

That’s why Horizon invites principals and fifth-grade teachers from the elementary schools that feed into Horizon to attend the orientation. They enjoyed a pancake breakfast and the chance to connect as a feeder area while the students were arriving. Then they lined one of the school’s hallways, while Horizon’s sixth-grade teachers lined another. The entire sixth-grade class then walked through the hallways, getting cheers, applause, high fives and hugs from the educators who helped them finish strong in elementary school, and the ones who will help them start strong in middle school.

“It was pretty interesting to see them and know that they came for us,” DeBose said of her former teachers. And as for her new teachers? “They seem warm and welcoming,” she said. She just has one concern: “My biggest fear is not knowing any of their names!”

After the surprise welcome, eighth grade WEB leaders guided small groups of sixth graders to different classrooms where they played games and got to know one another. They also toured the school and learned essential things like where the cafeteria and restrooms are.

When all was said and done, the new Huskies said they were looking forward to the year ahead.

“I think a lot of people are going to be nice to me,” Brown said. “I like it here. I’m really excited about going to middle school!”

Posted 8/12/2022.