Middle school hosts college knowledge week, anti-bullying workshops

COURTESY PHOTO | National Jr. Honor Society members Joanna Messina and Amanda Dickerson, shown wearing their favorite college T-shirts, helped pass out prizes for correct answers in the college history and trivia competition

Riverhead Middle School students learned how to be better citizens — and how to prepare for the future — during the school’s annual college awareness week and through anti-bullying workshops held throughout January.

College awareness week is designed to foster an interest in college and to answer student concerns, school officials said. Eighth graders met with college representatives, filled out mock college applications and listened to teachers talk about their own university days.

The event culminated in a pep rally, during which the pep band played the Notre Dame fight song, and with presentations by middle school principal Andrea Pekar and high school principal David Zimbler.

“Our goal is to get our students in 7th and 8th grade thinking about their futures now,” said middle school guidance counselor Judy Arnone. “College knowledge week is all about helping 8th graders be open to their options, to get them excited about their futures.”

Seventh- and eighth-graders also participated in several workshops with social worker Maria Speara about bullying and ways to address it. The workshops were part of the seventh grade home and careers curriculum and eighth grade health class. During the presentations, students engaged in frank discussions about bullying and its consequences.

“The faculty and staff at the middle school are committed to creating a school culture in which everyone is treated with dignity,” said assistant principal Patricia Nugent. “We recognize that in order to do this we need to sustain a safe environment for all of our students. As in any school, to achieve this goal we must acknowledge that bullying can occur within the school community.”