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In 1979, John Adriance began his teaching career. He wanted to know what the students liked and disliked in the classroom and life in general. He wanted to know their nicknames. He wanted to get to know his students. John devised a writing assignment to do just that.
Over the next twenty-seven years, over 3,000 students walked through his classroom door and completed the writing assignment. They shared their hopes for the coming school year, the things they were interested in, and the things that bothered them. They told him the name they preferred to be called. He saw what writing issues needed to be addressed. Most importantly, they left a picture of themselves at the beginning of their middle school years, a pivotal point in a person’s development.
For parents of 11 or 12 year olds who may be in awe of or bewildered by their son or daughter, who is now on the verge of becoming a teenager, the following student biographies will be enlightening and hopefully reassuring. Perhaps, they will see their own child being described in one of the paragraphs written by the students.
As you read the students' stories, try to imagine your own middle school years. How did you feel about 7th grade? Did you share some of the same concerns? Appreciate the students' sense of humor as well as their sense of their destiny as you read this tribute to their emerging personalities. Enjoy their enthusiasm for life and their determination to be someone.