With the end of the school year quickly approaching, teachers and staff at Belton Middle School are working hard on what’s becoming a tradition for the campus that opened only last year.
Each of the school’s 718 students will receive two handwritten, personalized notes from a teacher or staff member recognizing their unique qualities and celebrating them. The notes will be delivered on the day of the school’s awards ceremony later this month.
“Our school motto is ‘We All Belong’,” said Stacie Seveska, the school’s principal. “Each of our students is a valued member of our community. This is a powerful way to celebrate and honor each student.”
Eighth-graders Canaan Hammonds and Stella Lufburrow said receiving the letters last year was a huge surprise.
“I was really honored when I got the letters that the teachers took the time to prove they do love and care about us,” Hammonds said. “I felt like I was able to have even more of a personal connection with these teachers, that they weren’t just here to come to work and leave. They’re here to grow our lives and education.”
“They spend all year working so hard to make us successful, good adults and future college students,” she said. “After all this work, they still take the time to talk to us personally in these letters.”
Kelsey Riegel, a teacher and coach at the school, likes to personalize her letters by including a funny moment from class, a special memory about the student, or a bit of encouragement.
“The letters mean that they were seen, heard and loved by their teachers this year even if they didn’t always feel that or know it,” Riegel said. “It’s a way for them to go into the next grade level knowing their years here meant something.”
Riegel hopes students hang on to the letters, which Hammonds said he did.
“I thought it was really sweet that they did that, so I kept them,” he said. “I still look back at them every once in a while.”