Adrianna and Dhega posing for a photo

Our middle schoolers are moving on up to high school next year, which means new environments, relationships, teachers, classes, athletics, activities and countless other unknowns. It can be a scary time, even when our conjoined middle and high school and small, caring community can make for a smoother transition. 

There’s so much to be excited about in the future, and a lot we can honor in our past. We sat down with 8th grade students Adriana Jefferson and Dhega Khongtsotsang as they reflected on their time at St. Anthony Middle School, while also looking towards the future.

Their story allows us as a district to reflect on the ways we create spaces where our students feel safe, respected and valued for who they are. Read their story on our website to get a glimpse into how St. Anthony - New Brighton Schools is creating Ever Brighter communities for students, staff and families. 

Q: Do you feel like you belong at SAMS? What does that mean to you? What does that look like to you? 

Dhega: I’ve grown to know every single person in my grade. I have really nice friends and we’re open to each other and we can communicate with each other. Teachers are really understanding. 

Adrianna: I agree, the teachers always make me feel comfortable and welcome at the school. 

Q: What has been your favorite memory from this past school year, and why?

Dhega: My favorite class has been language arts with Ms. Diggins. She taught us about important historical events like the Holocaust that made me reflect on their impact. 

Adrianna: Mine would definitely be Math or Social Studies. I’m good at math, so I feel confident when it comes to solving problems. The way social studies is taught makes me feel prepared for high school. I also really like learning about past wars and their impact on today’s world.

Q: Are you in any sports or activities?

Adrianna: I was in volleyball, gymnastics, swim and soccer. I also do Student Council and will attend the Youth Authors Conference on May 29. I did World Saavy which is a capstone class where we talked with leaders about world events and topics.

By far though, soccer is my family’s favorite sport. My family is Ecuadorian. We go to Brazil a lot so I play soccer there. It’s also where I learned Portuguese.

Dhega: I play Volleyball, both for club and school. I’ve also done track, soccer and Knowledge Bowl. My family lives in India and every other summer I go there to do a summer program – it’s so much fun!

Q: What activities in the classroom have you done that you’ve enjoyed the most?

Dhega: I really enjoyed the World Travel Project I did on Tibet. Since I’m Tibetan, I learned a lot about myself and the culture. 

Adrianna: Definitely language arts activities. My teacher gives me the time to be thorough and thoughtful with my writing. If I need extra time to get my thoughts written down, I’m given it. 

Q: What excites you about moving to the high school next year? 

Dhega: I’m excited that we will get to move our backpacks around. But also that we will be treated more maturely, like we’re getting older and there’ll be more responsibility. I’m also curious about Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Of course, I want to get good grades and then after high school I want to go to the University of Washington for law school. My mom said I’m good at winning arguments, so I want to be a defendant. 

Adrianna: In high school, I want to go out for geometry, which is actually 10th grade math. I am always getting ahead in work. I push myself to be ahead of the average student, doing lots of extracurriculars. Like Dhega, I also want to be a lawyer but at Harvard. I’ve wanted that since 4th grade. My mom is a lawyer and also says I’m really good at winning arguments. I want to be a defendant.

Q: Any challenges or things you’re nervous about? 

Adrianna: The fact that it’s high school. Even saying that feels a lot scarier! Time is going really fast. Since I didn’t go to Wilshire Park, I got into St. Anthony Middle School and it was difficult at first to make friends, but I had family at school that made it easier. 

Dhega: I keep wondering how different it will be, and how expectations will be different especially as we get closer to graduation.

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