Berta Weathersbee holds signing day to celebrate students graduating

Published 9:00 am Thursday, May 18, 2023

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On a morning filled with celebration and academic success, the Soaring Eagles of Berta Weathersbee Elementary held their annual Academic Signing Day.

Dalecia Hamilton, BWES special education teacher, said the academic signing day is for fifth graders, who sign a contract to mark their commitment to the middle school that they’ll be attending next.

“It’s important to create a pathway, a connection to what our students are doing now to what we want them to do when they get in middle and high school. In high school, signing days used to be primarily for athletics, but now they’re including academics, which is extremely important. I think elementary students need to see it and experience it now, so that they’re prepared for that when they get to high school,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said signing day will give the kids something to look forward to and will set them on the path to continue doing good in school.

“If we create those memories and events now, then they’ll continue on the great positive track they are on now,” Hamilton said.

At the event, the school hosted representatives from each middle school (Gardner Newman, Callaway, Long Cane) who presented each scholar with school merchandise.

There was an approximate total of 35 students who signed an academic contract to their respective middle schools, Hamilton said.

In preparation for their big day, Hamilton said the kids were nervous and practiced the signatures.

“We’re extremely serious about every event that we do. In this one in particular, our students dressed up for it and many were nervous to sign their academic contract,” Hamilton said. “It was the cutest thing ever because a lot of them don’t know how to write in cursive. Now, that’s considered an old school thing, but to see them practice their signatures and their nerves behind it was adorable. It plays into the importance of setting the tone now for those types of ceremonies and experiences that will come later.”

The contracts the scholars signed are actual academic contracts, Hamilton said.

“The contract transfers ownership from the Berta PBIS expectations to the expectations of the middle school they’re going to. Each contract has our expectations and then it has the middle school’s PBIS expectations and their vision and their mission,” Hamilton said. “What’s really cool is the principals of schools keep them. If by any chance if they ever have a student that comes to their office, they pull out the contract and remind them of their commitment.”

Hamilton said she appreciates how the middle schools provided gifts for the scholars and sent representation to the event.

“They take pride in this event, which is really important to me because it just shows the kids that this event is extremely important,” Hamilton said.

Superintendent Brian Shumate said he appreciates BWES for putting on the ceremony. 

“It’s very good for these fifth graders to realize they’re moving on to the next phase in their careers, to meet people from the school as they start to become a part of the middle schools. We are trying to work on transitions from elementary to middle and middle to high school to make sure kids see themselves and what their future is as they go forward,” Shumate said.

BWES Principal Willie Cooks said the signing was an awesome event that helped culminate their elementary studies.

“They’re excited to go to middle school and begin a new journey in academics, sports and enrichment activities. We are happy the kids are excited about doing it, and we thank those middle school principals and administrators for coming in and helping us to celebrate and push them off to their next journey,” Cooks said.