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Moving up to middle school

Fort Myers Beach fifth-graders say goodbye

June 6, 2018
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Graduation always means starting something new.

For fifth-graders at Fort Myers Beach Elementary, graduation means leaving the comfort of the small, close-knit school they love and starting fresh in middle school.

The elementary has around 100 children enrolled, kindergarten through fifth grade. This year, fourteen fifth-graders are moving on to much larger schools with many more classmates.

Article Photos

The fifth-graders started a new tradition this year, painting a fish to add to the 'school of fish' wall.

The Observer sat down and talked with a few of this year's graduates, and none of them are too worried: their teacher, Rachel Martin, prepared them, they said.

"We live in rainbow and unicorn land," Martin said. "Across the bridge, it's a whole different element."?She spends time throughout the year preparing them both academically and socially for the change. She tells them to spend the first few weeks adjusting and finding where they want to be in middle school.

"I tell them what to expect, tell them to relax the first few weeks and find your niche," she said.

Martin spends her whole work week with the 14 children, and says she tries to think of them as her own, so she wants to see them do well socially and academically. Every class has a personality - she said: "These are the thinkers. They're quiet and kind."??

Erin Boone - 11

Erin started coming to beach school just this past school year, in December. But she quickly came to enjoy the school and its small size. She moved here from Kentucky, where there were 500 students enrolled in her elementary school.

"I like how fun and laid back it is here," she said. "You get more time to do stuff."?She enjoys studying math, and thinks all the teachers are kind to her and other students. She said she is a little nervous about going to Lexington Middle School.

"It's a big change," she said.

Patrick Bustamante - 11

Patrick has attended beach school since second grade, when he moved here from Mexico.

"It's really small and friendly," he said.

At first, he said "pass" when asked if he was nervous about going to Lexington Middle School, but he was joking. He said he wasn't really nervous, and he knows quite a few classmates who will be going there, too.

"Our teacher prepared us," he said. Patrick also said he'd miss Ms. Martin the most.

He's hoping there will be better food in middle school, and he's excited to try it out. Math is his favorite subject - "It seems fun," he said.

William Moe - 11

William is also a newcomer to beach school, having started in November. He likes the small size of the school, and how there aren't too many students enrolled. He's also headed to Lexington Middle.

"I'm not nervous. It's not scary because we've been prepared," he said. Mrs. Martin taught them to the sixth-grade standard test, and they've been doing a lot of math. Science is his favorite subject, though. He likes to experiment.

He thinks the teachers in middle school might be more harsh - some people have told him certain teachers are mean. He'll miss the teachers at beach school the most.

"They're nice," he said.

Yoshe Garay - 10

Yoshe has been coming to beach school since the beginning, kindergarten. She grew up in the school, and loves all her teachers and friends. She attended school with the same friends for most of her time at beach school.

She'll be headed to Bonita Springs Middle School. She said she wasn't nervous about the switch for the same reason as her classmates: she felt well-prepared by Mrs. Martin's guidance throughout the year. Math is her favorite subject, because it's easy, she said.

She's looking forward to the next chapter.

"I'm excited about meeting new friends," she said.



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