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, “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 when students seek more independence and their friendships become more central. 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 at HMS are designed to meet these needs in a mentoring, Christ-centered environment. Students grow academically, spiritually, and relationally with their peers through activities such as the drama production, mentor groups, leadership electives and clubs, interscholastic sports, and field trips.
Teachers encourage students to try different opportunities and look for their gifts to emerge. All students participate in some way in the annual drama production, either on-stage, backstage, in promotional efforts, or in serving at the dinner show. Mentor groups provide a time for students to grow deeper, face-to-face connections and compassion as they share struggles and prayer for one another. Teachers are involved in these conversations and guide students to see God’s unique purpose and potential for their lives.
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!”
Learning happens beyond the classroom as well. Interscholastic sports are offered in the fall, winter, and spring seasons and students can try more than one sport. Coaches give one-on-one attention and focus on both skill-building and sportsmanship. Students go on field trips to Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York to learn about social issues and expand their global perspective. Eighth graders look forward to the Spruce Lake Retreat of team building games and activities, which is often mentioned as a high point 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.”