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Every morning when 8th grader Matthew Bell enters Tomlin Middle, he walks past a wall filled with locks. One of those locks, a black one, has his name engraved on it.
Matthew was awarded a lock because he achieved something great in 7th grade. He received straight A’s in all subjects, in every grading period, for the entire year!
“It’s great!” Matthew says while admiring his lock. “It’s inspirational for kids who come to the school to see this wall and know what they achieved.”
“Lock in Your Achievement” is a program started in 2016 by Tomlin Middle School’s PSTA to encourage students to strive for academic excellence.
That was Traci Durrance’s first year as Tomlin’s principal. She sat down with the president of the PTSA to come up with some way that students could leave their mark on campus. They wanted something unique, something no other school in the district had. They came up with the wall of locks.
Here’s how it works—at the end of each year, all students who received straight A’s have their name engraved on a lock. 6th grade has blue locks, 7th grade has black locks and 8th grade has orange locks. And then, if a student makes straight A’s for all three years, they receive a gold lock!
Last year, ten students earned the coveted gold lock!
“We have a big celebration at the end of the year,” Ms. Durrance said. “The kids invite their parents, Mayor Rick Lott comes… It’s probably my favorite ceremony of the year!”
During the ceremony, each student walks across the stage and is presented their lock. From there, they get to place it on the wall wherever they’d like.
“That lock will remain on the wall until they knock this school down,” Ms. Durrance said with a smile. “They are there to stay. If we have to make it bigger, we will!”
For Matthew, he feels great pride when he sees his black lock on the wall.
But is there an orange lock in his future? Or perhaps gold?
“I’ve been going for it,” he said sheepishly. “But 8th grade is kinda hard!”
Find out more about the amazing things going on at Tomlin Middle School: http://tomlin.mysdhc.org/