COLUMBIA — Columbia fifth-grade students packed up their belongings and got ready for their journey to middle school today during their last day of elementary school.
At Two Mile Prairie Elementary, 11-year-olds Jackie Whitworth, Austine Renner and Michelle Dingledine debated their feelings about the transition during their final recess as fifth-graders.
“I want to stay in elementary school," Jackie said. "I don’t want to have to leave my friends. I’m kind of shy about making new friends.”
Both Renner and Dingledine are excited about middle school, but Dingledine said: “I wish I could stay at this school. I wish middle school was here. I like it here because it’s small and the younger kids are nice.”
Da’Jon Gully, 11, of Fairview Elementary, said he is also sad about leaving fifth grade.
“I’m going to miss recesses and my friends, but I hear they have a better lunch!” he said.
While some students are sad about the small changes, Lucas Wadley, 11, of Fairview Elementary, is going to be making a bigger change.
“I’m sort of happy that school is out and summer’s here, but I’m sad because I’m leaving,” Wadley said.
Wadley is visiting the Philippines for the summer and then moving to Las Vegas.
As students move forward with their transitions, some say they are looking forward to greater freedoms and more opportunities.
McKenzie Meyer, 11, of Two Mile Prairie Elementary said: “I am excited for a new school, new friends and new experiences.”
Chloe Schmidt of Fairview Elementary said: “I’m really excited about lockers. Instead of a closet with everyone else’s stuff, you have your own cubby for all your personal stuff.”
New opportunities include such activities and classes as band, foreign language, extracurricular clubs and school sports teams.
“I’m ready for band," said Fairview Elementary fifth-grader Brandi Robison. "I’m going to play the trombone.”
Joel Katz, 11, of Fairview Elementary, said he is looking forward to taking a foreign language and would really like to learn French. Cody Polton, also of Fairview, said, “I’m excited about P.E. because you get to play dodgeball and flag football.”
As Fairview Elementary teacher Brian Earls’ fifth-grade students left his class for the last time, he expressed confidence in them.
“They’re a good class," he said. "I think they’re ready both socially and academically. If they think and do what they know, it’s going to be easy."
Missourian reporters David Goldstein, Michelle Pais, Danielle Rodabaugh and Jenn Ballard contributed to this report.