The transition from middle school to high school can be overwhelming and nerve wracking. The mission of Trojan Nations at Midlothian High School is to give freshmen peace of mind when entering high school. The class of 2021 was the first to go through this program, and it has continued into the current school year. In the early stages, student leaders known as Sidekicks gave the freshmen a tour of their new school and engaged in team building activities, alongside their fellow classmates. Trojan Nations Sidekicks give freshmen a chance to form bonds with upperclassmen, along with a sense of what it means to be part of the Midlo family.
In the second year of Trojan Nations, Assistant Principal Mrs. Denise Bowes, who started this program, elaborated on her aspirations. She explained how she began the program, expressing,”I met with the Monacan coordinator and learned how to create this program, and it was a way to build relationships between students and help them to find their passions.” As an improvement for the 2018-2019 school year, the Trojan Nations team made adjustments, including the addition of the service learners to the program. Mrs. Bowes explains, “It gives them an opportunity to learn and grow as future teachers. It is very organized and engaging by having Mrs. Jacqueline Tully work with and train the service learners.”
This year, the Trojan Nation Sidekicks and Service Learners have played a major role in helping the freshman class with their transition into high school. Their help did not just end at orientation or on the first day of school. It has carried into every other week when the freshmen meet in homeroom for Midlo Morning. On these days, the Sidekicks teach lessons to assist the freshmen and help them excel in their high school journey. These interactive lessons, created by the service learners, include the topics of leadership, team building, social and study skills, finding balance, and school involvement. Freshman Kaylee Martin stated,”Trojan Nations has helped me find friends and helps with school habits.”
After a successful two years of the Trojan Nations program, Midlo looks to further improve the system and watch it evolve. With one more remaining lesson, Bowes explains, “The next steps are gathering feedback from both students and teachers and making adjustments as needed.” This program will continue to promote relationships among grade levels, as well as building future leaders.