Middle School

GUEST POST by Reese Wood

Reese Wood is Halee and Ron Wood's son. This is a speech he wrote for his 8th grade class, reminiscing through their personal experiences of Middle School in the midst of the community flooding of 2019 and then the pandemic of 2020-21.


Middle School - what a journey. It was either the years you made new friends, found yourself, and became the person you always wanted to be, or the years you found out that nobody ever fits in and you can never be perfect. For about 99% of us, our experience was the ladder. Middle School is fun for some, but for most of us it's a nice load of guilt topped with hormones and sprinkled with pimples.

Since this is our last year in Middle School, let’s take a trip down memory lane, looking back on all the good times we’ve had through the years.

You remember sixth grade, don’t you? The year you mentally wet your pants as you tried to find your first class. For many, sixth grade was the year you found out how embarrassing you were. You weren’t top of the totem pole anymore like you were in fifth grade. You went from laughing at the little kids to being the little kids. From the hunter to the hunted in the matter of a summer.

Sixth grade was a time of change. A switch from Justice to Hot Topic, or light up Sketches to Nike. A realization hit that we weren’t in Elementary School anymore, and we had to grow up to fit in. Friends were gained… and lost… gained and lost.

It was a year of beginnings but also of loss for our community. River flooding and storms caused our district to wrap up the school year early. People vacated the area to stay safe, and many lost their homes. It was a tragic end, but, after that, school would never end early again, right?

After the unfortunate end of the previous year, it was time for seventh grade! Everyone missed each other over the summer. People who had become new friends the year before got back in touch for another year of change.

We felt ready for the next year. Ready to see our new friends again. Ready to make memories. Most importantly, ready to pick on the little, tiny, baby sixth graders. Little did we know that, although we had adjusted to the new people, we hadn’t fully adjusted to the new us. Growth spurts, pimples, hormones, and deeper voices all came so suddenly. For some, harder than others.

While all that change was happening internally (or externally), change with people was happening as well. We continued to meet new people in new classes. New horizons were opened. People began taking dating more seriously, and friendship bonds were strengthened.

And then… an extended spring break?!?! I’m sure you remember where you were when you heard there would be no more school in spring 2020. I’m sure you remember your thoughts in that moment. Some were excited school let out early – again! Two extra months of summer! Others were sad, disappointed, and even angry. Angry you wouldn’t see your friends for so long or spend every day being with people you like. Angry you were forced into confinement… all because of a little pandemic.

Days, weeks, and months went by in isolation. Do you remember those long days of scrolling through TikTok and Instagram, being bored out of your mind? Of course you do. Your only form of communication with your friends was FaceTime. Hours and hours of FaceTime calls every day.

Seventh grade and the following summer was certainly one for the history books. Friendships and relationships were challenged – so many of us lost contact with people we thought were our friends. Socially it was sad, long, hard, and boring for us – not to mention the pain and suffering the entire world was enduring. But finally in August, it was announced we would return to in-person school. Yes! Life would finally be back to normal!

We arrived into eight grade having no idea what to say to each other. Nobody could squeal, run up and hug each other. Nobody could fist bump or even see each other’s faces. We all felt a bit lost. Things changed over the summer. Friends moved, others went to virtual schooling, and some we have no idea what happened to them. Being forced behind an uncomfortable mask and spread apart from our once close friends left us feeling alone even though we were in rooms full of people.

Eighth grade was arguably the hardest year of adjustment. Everything was so different. Quarantines happened frequently throughout the year. It’s been difficult to adjust because we’re constantly adjusting. But look around this room; look how much this has matured us and helped us grow. This is the last year we’re in Middle School, and it’s been the hardest one yet. But look at us - we’ve made it through eight months (plus some unplanned breaks in the middle) of school with these stupid masks and this stupid virus. What other year have we made it through something like this?

You may not have the best grades, the best face, the best clothes, the best smile, the best hair, the best anything. But be proud of yourself - you’ve made it through three years in this warzone. Heck, you’ve made it through THIS year! Give yourself a pat on the back. We’re all troopers. We all persevered. Now all we have left is High School. What could possibly go wrong?



Feature Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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10 thoughts on “Middle School”

  1. Wow, Reese! You are such a gifted writer! I’m so glad your mom shared this.

  2. WOW! Reese! I am totally sitting here feeling like an eighth grade student finishing up seventh grade! Your speech should be heard by every student leaving middle school and entering high school, as well as every parent or grandparent that couldn’t possibly know what it would feel like to go through a pandemic as a middle schooler trying to prepare for high school. This is FANTASTIC! You need to give yourself a pat on the back! Thank you for being your mom’s guest writer, and thank you for this wonderful speach! Halee, thank you for sharing this with us!

  3. Great writing, Reese! I love your sense of humor mixed in with some deep insights.

  4. Great way to capture your experience. I am going to share it with my 14 year old son.

  5. I love your writing tease always have. Your doing amazing an becoming a wonderful young man. Love you

  6. Good job Reester, you come a long way since your first crayon, you’ve matured right before our eyes , we’re always been proud if you , this is just another of your fabulous talents, well done my friend

  7. Reese thanks for helping us see these years through your perspective. You are a talented writer! I can’t wait to see how God uses your talent.

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