bullies, exams and showering after gym class- it's a little-known
fact that lockers are the scariest part of middle school.
"I was scared I was going to forget how to open my locker," said Kinady Gibbs, a brand-new 6th grader at Joe T. Robinson Middle School in the Pulaski County Special School District.
One lock, three numbers, and a million ways to get it wrong.
Another 6th grader, Jaiden Lee, said getting it right was "very confusing."
"Sometimes I get very frustrated," Lee said. "I get very mad, because I only have five minutes to get to class."
But thanks to a little help, Lee's starting to crack the lock like a pro.
"I know how to do the lockers now because of my mentors," Lee said. "They help me."
The mentoring program at Robinson is rolling into its third year. The school has a fresh crop of two dozen 8th graders. They're picked through a selective process that checks their student history, grades and ability to serve as a role model for the younger students.
The mentors have about four kids each, and meet with them for about half an hour, first thing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They play games with the younger students, answer questions they might have, and in a couple of weeks, they'll be introducing "character words" to reinforce values like hard work, honesty, and the importance of having a good attitude.
But the program isn't limited to the morning meetings. All the mentors wear bright yellow shirts, so they're easy to identify, and eager to lend a hand.
Gibbs already recognizes the importance of a friendly face at her new school.
"You have mentors who will help you," Gibbs said. "In elementary, you have one class, and you have to help yourself."
Now that Lee is getting used to having a locker, he can worry about other things.
"It's just, the homework," Lee lamented. "On our writing assignments, we can't skip lines."