Welcome to the First Day of Middle School 2023

On August 15, 2023, all Middle School students and their teachers gathered for the first time in Eliot Chapel to kick off the new school year. Head of Middle School Jen Schuckman greeted the audience with some words of wisdom and encouragement before inviting two students to the microphone to share their own thoughts. Here is your opportunity to read what they said.

Jen Schuckman, Head of Middle School

Good morning, and welcome to the new school year! Today is our blank page, our fresh start, our new chapter together, and we have the honor and responsibility to tell the very best story of the MICDS middle school. Yesterday, I reminded our amazing teachers that we have 407 reasons to show up today, to be our best selves, and to be prepared for hard work and abundant success. So I stand here before you, our 407 incredible reasons, with a great deal of hope and excitement, as you each bring your own “special something” that will brighten our days together. There is extraordinary potential in this chapel today, and we are so lucky to have this year-long adventure together.

So, how will you show up each day? How will you reach your potential? What is your reason? For tomorrow, for next week, for next month? What will drive you to live our mission and contribute to this special community?

  • Do you aspire to discover a musical talent?
  • Are you motivated to conquer word problems in math class?
  • Are you hoping to find that next great book that you simply can’t put down?
  • Is finding new friendships your reason?
  • Do you aim to discover a new favorite sport or activity after school?
  • Are you hoping to make the people around you smile and laugh?
  • Are you driven to run faster or jump higher?
  • Are you feeling challenged to develop your writing skills?
  • Do you hope to head home each day feeling proud that you did your very best?

Each and every day, I hope you will remember your reasons for showing up for yourself and for those in this room. We must rely on each other, and we must strive to make each other better. This is a very special place, and we are the caretakers of the Middle School story.

So let’s begin our 2023-24 story by welcoming our newest community members:

  • Fifth grade, the Class of 2031: You are all new to Middle School! Let’s give a big cheer to our fifth graders.
  • Sixth grade: Would the new members of the class of 2030 please raise their hands?
  • Seventh grade: There are a lot of you—new members of the class of 2029 Please raise your hands.
  • And eighth grade, the honored front rows: new members of the class of 2028, please raise your hands.

And we should also give a warm welcome to our new faculty who are joining MICDS. We are so lucky that they have found their way to our Middle School:

  • Ms. Ady, eighth grade and US French
  • Mr. Berry, Middle and Upper School band
  • Ms. Casco-Lee, sixth and seventh-grade Spanish
  • Mr. Frankenberger, eighth grade math
  • Ms. Garcia: fifth grade language arts
  • Ms. Helton: fifth grade history
  • Ms. Kavanaugh: Middle School Library
  • Ms. Kovaluk: sixth and seventh-grade orchestra
  • Mr. Mayes: sixth-grade history
  • Ms. Mein: fifth and sixth-grade drama
  • Dr. Miller: eighth-grade English
  • Dr. Sontheimer: sixth and eight-grade science
  • Mr. Taylor: seventh-grade dean and Middle School music

And, although not brand new, we have two teachers who did not get a proper first-day-of-school greeting last year: Please welcome back Mr. Jones and Ms. Robertson!

And now, to help us set the tone for this new year, I have invited two eighth graders to speak today. By vote of their classmates, Victoria Noble ’28 and Trip Scanlon ’28 were the recipients of last year’s Eliot Award, and I am so grateful for their Ram wisdom and spirit this morning.

Victoria Noble ’28

Hey, y’all, I’m Victoria Noble, and I’m an eighth grader here at MICDS. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was a brand new seventh grader still figuring out all there is to know about MICDS and what this amazing Middle School has to offer. The curriculum and teachers will challenge you, but trust that they want you to succeed!

I have a few tips for you. First of all, lean on your advisor for any and every need, they will be be your cheerleader and advocate, next is to find the organization style that works for you, don’t be afraid to ask questions, use and make the most out of your flex period because it will help you out with the homework load especially if you have extracurricular activities, and ALWAYS be happy when you see beef chili nachos on the lunch menu!

What I find that makes MICDS special is that it’s a big school yet such a tight community. Like when the Middle School wishes the senior class a farewell as they make their way through the halls on their last day of classes. Speaking of the tight community, I highly encourage you to learn the names and get to know everyone in your day-to-day classes. Trust me, the interactions and inside jokes that you have with your classmates are really what makes waking up before 7 a.m. worth it. I also love the yearly traditions you can look forward to. One of my personal favorites is definitely Homecoming Weekend. We have fun “dress days” all week, like dressing for the beach or wearing your pajamas and slippers to school.

Being involved in the Rams community is so important and fun! There are many sports teams and clubs to choose from. I play field hockey and lacrosse for the Rams, and it is truly such a fun and bonding experience. I have met awesome new friends and have definitely gotten closer to my classmates. Honestly, don’t be intimated; go out for anything. These teams have brand-new beginners all the way up to top club athletes.

Overall, MICDS is a fantastic school with so much in store. Be prepared to work hard, meet great friends and make the most of your Middle School experience. Thank you.

Trip Scanlon ’28

Hello, Middle School. My name is Trip Scanlon, and I was lucky enough to be one of two recipients of last year’s seventh-grade Eliot Award.

I hope you all have had a great summer break, but now, we’re back, even if you don’t want to be. Truth is, it’s go-time. Whether it be sports, after-school programs, or just school itself, we should strive to get back into our normal rhythm. We have a wonderful faculty and staff here to welcome faces old and new.

Speaking of old and new, welcome, new kids. Our school has tons of wonderful people in it, including students, teachers, and more that will help you fit in swimmingly. Whether it be fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth grade, I’m sure you’ll have an alright time.

The main thing I want to talk about is the Honor Code. The honor code boils down to four different words: trust, respect, responsibility, and honor. Almost all rules of the school can be summed up by these four words. Trust can represent a lot of broad topics. For example, don’t lie, don’t cheat, only take one dessert, etc. Respect can cover a lot of things. Respect your teachers, respect the staff, respect your peers, and most importantly, respect yourself because you matter. Responsibility can come in place if you make a mistake. Spill on the floor? You are responsible for cleaning that up. Using a source? You are responsible for citing said source. Lastly, honor. Make sure what you are doing is something you are proud of. It’s honorable to do your own work. It’s honorable to say please and thank you. It’s honorable to raise your hand.

I could go on and on about the honor code, but then you would’ve graduated by the time I would cover everything, so I’ll stop.

The next subject I want to touch on is our community. Lived in Missouri your entire life? You’re welcome here. Recently moved from out of state? You’re welcome. Moved countries? You guessed it, you’re welcome here. No matter your story, you will fit into the community, and we’ll welcome you with open arms.

That will do it for my speech. Thank you for listening.