Middle School Day of Empowerment Helps Students Succeed in the Classroom and Beyond

Monday, November 26, 2018

On November 20, four guest speakers spent the morning with Heathwood's Middle Schoolers, talking about some of the key challenges adolescents face and how to navigate them successfully.

"As we work to address all aspects of growing middle schoolers," said Middle School Head Suzanne Nagy, "we wanted to touch on different developmental spaces - empowering them to know that they mean a great deal to us, that they can have a voice, they can plan, set goals, and make things happen, and that they have much responsibility to grow into good people who affect change in the world. They have power."

Comedian Michael Goodwin spoke to students about three ways to use humor for good in middle school, being mindful of how humor can effect others.

--Be Light - Laugh with people, not at them. Lift people up. It is ok to think something funny and not say it.

--Be relatable - Bring everyone on board. Avoid inside jokes.

--Be humble - Have no desire to mock, to belittle, or to embarrass.

Brett Brown with SASS self-defense taught all the girls in the Middle School to find that inner beast to have outer calm and confidence to stay safe. She taught them to think, to use their voices, and strategies to get out of tough situations. In this case, knowledge equals courage.

Stephen Splawn empowered all the boys in the Middle School to rely on others and to be ever aware that people know what you show. He spoke about the transition from being a boy, growing into a man. 

Attorney Eric Norton spoke about technology and the law, focusing heavily on Fortnight, online gaming, and safety. 

Each grade finished the morning with The Kindness Diaries, a Netflix series. 

"We know there is great anxiety in the world for this generation fueled by high expectations and the pressure of social media," said Mrs. Nagy. "We know all of that. We want to move our focus now to teaching resilience. It is through experiences, the thoughts of others, self-awareness, and gratitude that we are able to teach great resilience. Our kids are amazing."