Daily News photo/ALY GIBSON New Dowagiac Middle School Assistant Principal Nichole Hullet instructs incoming sixth-graders where the band hallway is located Tuesday during the annual DMS Boot Camp in preparation for the first day of school, Sept. 4.

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Dowagiac students enter boot camp

Published 12:18am Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dowagiac students heading into middle school in a few short weeks got their first taste of the building and procedures Tuesday during the annual Dowagiac Middle School Boot Camp.

Several incoming sixth-grade students, along with new seventh- and eighth-graders, split off into groups for tours and question-and-answer sessions with staff and administrators.

DMS Principal Matt Severin, new Assistant Principal Nichole Hulett, as well as a few teachers, helped students find their way around the building. Each stop, such as bathrooms, lockers, classrooms, the gymnasium and the cafeteria, was accompanied with expectations, procedures and a chance for questions. Parents were also invited to familiarize themselves with the building and offices.

“I had been through once before, but, doing this, I know where to go for the office now,” Debbe Burling, grandmother of sixth-grader Lexi Burling, said.

Leslie Malin also got to experience the building once again with her son, Tyler.

“I have one that left and will be at the high school, but, with my son, since he’s a special needs student, this helps him and his aide,” Malin said.

Hulett and Severin also discussed a new mantra for the students to remember once school starts: C.H.A.M.P. The acronym reminds students about important parts of their experience at DMS: conversation, help, action, movement and participation.

“I expect you to be helpful and be engaged in activities, as well as respectful to others and to yourself,” Severin said during a session in the cafeteria.

Hulett said the turnout for boot camp has always been good and she was excited for this year’s chance to take the reins in her new administrative position.

“I’ve always been a part of boot camp as a teacher,” Hulett said. “This time around, I get to talk about a few different things; I was excited.”

Hulett said the experience helps fade “new-school jitters” and identifies people students can come to when they need help.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Hulett said.

Adrianna Affriseo, an incoming sixth-grade student, said she thought the boot camp was helpful, especially since she hopes to become active in sports at the school.

“I liked being able to see the locker rooms,” Affriseo said. “I want to play basketball.”

The first day of school for Dowagiac Union Schools is Sept. 4.

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