This week, as part of World Culture Day, students from Pershing West Middle School celebrated not only international diversity, but the melding of two school cultures.
On Wednesday, students from Pershing Middle lined the fence outside their school to welcome those younger children from Pershing East who will become part of their school this fall.
“It was like a long receiving line,” said Natalie Neris-Guereca, assistant principal at Pershing Middle. “They were warmly welcomed by every student as they walked past.”
The K-3 students from Pershing East were then paired with their middle-school peers with the hope of creating mentoring relationships that will extend into the coming school year.
“We want our younger students to feel secure and comfortable, and as though someone is looking out for them at their new school,” said Neris-Guereca. “And for our older kids, it was a good opportunity to build leadership skills, so the experience was very positive on both sides.”
Each pair of students worked on a questionnaire to learn more about each other, then entered the school auditorium for a performance by an internationally-known artist who hails from Belize and specializes in children’s music.
“There’s something about music that just brings people together,” said Neris-Guereca. “It was clear that the students loved it, because almost immediately, they were dancing and playing instruments together. They all seemed to be enjoying being with one another.”
During the performance, the younger students from Pershing East sat alongside their middle-school peers, and it was clear how pleased the older children were to play the role of mentor.
“It was touching to see how our students took their new classmates under their wings, showing them around and answering their questions,” said Neris-Guereca. “Several times, I heard our students telling the Pershing East kids how much they’re going to like it here, and I think that went a long way toward making them feel happy and comfortable in their new school.”