8th graders at Harns Marsh Middle get warm welcome from their future high school principals

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We’ve heard of a college commencement or even a high school graduation but have you ever heard of a high school handoff?

It’s what happened at Harns Marsh Middle School as 8th graders got the chance to hear from their future high school principal.

Alex Dworzanski, the principal of Harns Marsh Middle said that inviting the principals from five high schools in the area to come and speak with the students who have already committed to going to their school for the 2024-25 school year, relieved some of the pressure the students face with moving to a new school.

8th graders hear from high school principals
8th graders at Harns Marsh Middle get warm welcome from their future high school principals. (CREDIT: WINK News)

“It was interesting because every principal said this is a great opportunity for me to be part of your ceremonies, but also it is a handoff, and this then increases the collaboration between schools,” Dworzanski said, “so they were all in, and it was great to see our students and their parents going to their new principal like they were celebrities taking pictures, and the students felt so excited. They were actually wishing high school started tomorrow, and that’s pretty hard to do when there’s two days left of school.”

Carl Burnside, the principal of Dunbar High School, was among the principals in attendance. He spoke with the 50 students who will be part of his incoming 9th-grade class for the 2024-25 school year.

Burnside said it was a great way to meet not only the students he’ll see in his hallways soon but also their parents.

“There was genuine excitement for them to be going to that next level, but also to meet the principal, but I think the other piece that I did not really realize is it gave me an opportunity to start my initial relationship interaction with the parents because parents were there, and so I’ve already set up some opportunities for communication to really ensure that process is going to be invaluable,” Burnside said.

The idea originated from Bianca McGinley, a middle school teacher who wanted to think of a creative way to celebrate their 8th graders, who will soon be high schoolers.

“I want them to know what they’re going into, so that’s where that started, and the rest of it just kind of grew. It was like, ‘Hey, how about we invite the principals?’ I was like, ‘No, they are so busy, and they have so many students’, you know, every day, that they have to be in charge of. I was like, ‘there’s no way that they’re coming’, and then when he called them, they were so excited,” McGinley said.

On Wednesday, the principals of Dunbar High School, East Lee High School, and Lehigh School spoke with students, and the following day, the principals of Riverdale and Gateway High schools are expected to speak with students.

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