A Poem For HBW At Graduation 2018


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Photo by Matheus Ferrero on UnsplashCongratulations to the HBW Class of 2018!

Thank you to Ms. McNeal for inspiring me to write this poem, which she shared at the ceremony today.

Messy in the Middle

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It’s messy in the middle.
You’re not grown up but you’re not little.
You’re still a kid, but not a baby.
Life in the middle can feel crazy.

Mom and Dad don’t seem so cool.
The teachers are cringey at your school.
Grownups saying, “When I was a kid…”
Then some long story about what they did.

And sometimes it’s all too much
The projects, the sports, the rush.
And there’s a friend that you’re not sure
Is really your friend any more.

When Mom and Dad ask you all the time
It’s easier to say you’re fine.
It’s so messy in the middle.
You’re not grown up, but you’re not little.

Taking selfies and making silly faces
Trying to smile to hide your braces
Wishing for days when life was simple
And your skin was free of pimples.

The future seems exciting,
All the choices seem inviting.
But there’s so much to decide.
Sometimes you want to hide.

But it’s okay to feel unsure
Of all life has in store.
It’s okay to be afraid
Of life after 8th grade.

It’s so messy in the middle.
You’re not grown up, but you’re not little.

Remember your first day at H.B.?
When you didn’t know where you were supposed to be?
And the school just seemed so huge?
And your locker had you so confused?

You searched for your old friends.
Couldn’t believe how quickly lunch could end.
You joined the band and then the play
And dressed up for spirit days.

You got your first bad grade on a test.
And your parents said, “It’s okay. Just try your best.”
And in sixth grade when you walked the halls,
You thought, “Wow those fifth graders are small.”

It was messy in the middle.
You’re not grown up, but you’re not little.

Think of all the memories you made
Fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade
Clubs, sports, and socials, too
All you learned that you never knew.

Some days were good and some were bad
And you needed all the friends you had.
And there are jokes you won’t forget,
Things your parents wouldn’t get.

Summer’s here and it’s time for fun
Because the hard work has all been done.
The future’s yours, so look ahead
With hope and not with dread.

It’s not an end; it’s a new start.
Keep your memories in your heart.
Take this moment, hold it fast.
Hold it tight and make it last.

And it’s okay if you’re sad a little.
It was perfect in the middle.

Jennifer Kleinknecht has been the media specialist at H.B. Whitehorne Middle School since 2007. She writes about life as a school librarian on her blog, “The ‘Yes’ Librarian”. PARCC testing begins at HBW on Monday, April 30.

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

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