Exploring Interests & Individuality in the Context of Community
“If parents had to choose what stage of life to send their children to HMS, I would tell them to send them here for middle school,” said parent and HMS Office Assistant Rika Allen. Allen explained, saying, “I have two boys who have gone through middle school here, and this time in their lives is so crucial. I so appreciate the Christian environment they experienced that allowed for growing independence, leadership development, and strong relationships with their teachers and peers.”
HMS understands that middle school is an important time for development. Students are seeking more freedom and friendships become more important. Many are discovering what sets them apart as individuals, and others are looking to pursue their interests and take on leadership roles. Middle school activities are intentional to meeting these needs in a mentoring, Christ-centered environment. Students grow academically, spiritually, and relationally with their peers through the drama production, mentor groups, leadership electives and clubs, interscholastic sports, and field trips.
The annual drama productions come together through the combined efforts of middle school participants on-stage, backstage, in promotional efforts, or in serving at the dinner show, giving students a wide variety of choices in where they prefer to be involved each year. Through the mentor groups, students learn how to make deeper, face-to-face connections with people their age, while gaining compassion and sharing struggles. Teachers are involved in these conversations and guide students to see God’s unique purpose and potential for their lives.
Leadership electives like the school newspaper, student council, schoolwide morning announcements, and chapel planning provide more long-term roles where students gain skills in organization and leadership. Clubs give short-term opportunities to explore interests and are offered multiple times over a course of a year. Middle school student Caleb Horning expressed how much he enjoyed the clubs he joined, sharing: “I like working with wood, so I got involved in the woodworking club. We made a coffee table and candlesticks and then we sold both at the school auction!”
Interscholastic sports are offered in the fall, winter, and spring seasons and students can choose to try more than one sport. Coaches give one-on-one attention and focus on both skill-building and sportsmanship. Students go beyond classroom learning through field trips to Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York to learn social awareness and expand their global perspective. Eighth graders look forward to the Spruce Lake Retreat of teambuilding games and activities, which is often mentioned as a highpoint in the graduation speeches.
With so many opportunities, the middle school program is intended to be about nurturing freedom and growth. Parent Bonita Horst affirms and values this approach: “Our middle school experience at HMS is something we would never trade, as this pivotal time in both our kids’ lives undeniably shaped them into who they are today.”