Imagine being an eighth-grader and getting to sneak in to your future high school, making your way to the principal’s desk, trying on his sport coat and leaving a special, colorful message on the wall.
A few eighth-graders from got to do just that a couple of weeks ago, as they bid farewell to the WEB (Where Everyone Bleongs) program via a year-end bash organized by team leaders and principal Jennifer Kelly.
“It was a chance for them to celebrate what they’d done, and we reached out to some organizations that were just a big help. It turned out to be a very memorable night,” Kelly said.
First, the event–designed as a “lock out, lock in,” was given a bus from in Albertville, the transportation provider for the district. The bus coordinator himself delivered the rig and served as a driver for the night.
Students met at the school, and then were locked out, meaning they had to stick together for the night.
Kelly also reached out to Dave and Buster’s in Maple Grove and River Lanes in St. Michael, so the kids were able to do some bowling, have past at D&B’s, and play games.
After those outings, it was back to Kelly’s home, in the Preserve. School Board member Jeff Lindquist and his son came by to sing songs by the campfire, and there were basketball and volleyball games for the kids, too.
“It’s great to see them in that kind of setting,” Kelly said. “They kind of let their guard down in front of you. You don’t get that at school. But we knew what we were going to get with this group. It’s a great group of kids, and they’re leaders.”
“You knew you weren’t going to have any trouble. Maybe some crazy moments, but no trouble,” said assistant principal Ben Bakeberg.
After visiting Kelly’s home, the group headed to the high school, where they were allowed in after hours.
They snuck into principal Bob Driver’s office for a few photos, and a special message.
“Bob , and really was motivational. He told the kids to leave their mark “with their shoes off,” so they’d leave a footprint, and to try and do things with a bit of “panache.”
To make their statement, the kids left footprints on a banner, and wrote “Panache This Driver.”
Then, it was back to East for the “lock-in” portion of the night, where the kids spent the night in the school.
“It’s the first time we’ve done something like this, and it was really at their request. They took charge,” Kelly said. “I think it’s something we could definitely do again.”