Anson Middle School drew 200 of its 228 students to its first prom on Saturday.
The 2013 AMS Spring Extravaganza Dance was organized, sponsored and decorated by teachers, who also designed a program for the kids. The eighth-graders began dancing, with parents required to leave soon after the event began. The students had pictures taken and a buffet-style dinner served in the cafeteria. Later, students and faculty created a “Soul Train” dance line and participated in a fashion show.
“AMS was the lowest-performing middle school in the state last year,” Sandra Kendall, an English teacher, said. “This year, our scores sky-rocketed and are hovering at the 60-70 percent level and that is very close to mastery (80 percent)… Rural schools are often foced to be creative.”
Teachers introduced new standards to the students, giving the children a clear understanding of what is expected, but also introduced incentives and ‘fun time,’ including this prom.
Felicia Bailey, another English teacher at AMS, agreed. “We’re motivating students and lifting their spirits, so on tests days they know we love and care about them.” Bailey said the kids were also excited for an opportunity to be at school without their uniforms. “We wanted to isolate the eighth-graders and make them feel like AHS ‘seniors on campus.’”
Students seemed to agree. “We’ve been doing better now that we have a dance,” student Meagan Bolick said. “I think that since the parents left everybody loosened up,” she added, looking at the dance floor where several students were dancing.
Student Nikki Vazquez was also excited. “Ms. Kendall is crazy, but in a good way,” she said of one of the teachers. “She’s amazing.”
Another student, Andrew Spencer, was enthusiastic about the dance. “It’s good,” he said. “There’s no inappropriate dancing; we’ve kept it good. And now, it’s time to eat!”