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BES ‘Gearing’ up for good grades

Most kids dread tests, but Brookhaven Elementary School studentsare pumped up for the upcoming Mississippi Curriculum Tests(MCT2).

In order to get the kids ready to go on the tests, schoolofficials put their heads together and realized that a good way toget them excited about taking the state standardized tests could beone of the oldest methods in the book – a pep rally.

“We just wanted to make sure the students realize the importanceof it and get them motivated, plus relieve a little stress,” saidBES Principal Dolores Gearing. “This puts a little fun in it, andlets them know it is very important.”

So for several weeks, each class worked on their very own MCT2cheers, choreographing and perfecting it for a competition heldThursday to choose the best cheer. Then the winner of the cheercompetition got to lead the parade directly following Friday’s peprally held at BES.

“The theme was that we’re meant to be a star school,” Gearingsaid. “All the kids got involved and into it, and the teacherspracticed with them so they could perfect it, and it was awesomeand amazing how excited they were.”

All year long, BES officials have been working to reinforcepositive behaviors and habits through various programs, and Gearingsaid the parade and pep rally were born of those same kind ofideas.

“We were kicking around ideas, and I thought this would makeanother motivating thing,” she said. “We decided to take it alittle further as far as going downtown with the parade, so wetalked about it and put it into action.”

And it looked like the community was excited too, she said. Theparade that followed the pep rally Friday morning made a cityblock, right through downtown Brookhaven.

“Trustmark had all blue matching T-shirts and signs supportingus, and they held up their signs for BES,” Gearing said. “All themerchants stood outside their doors, and the children threw candyat them.”

Gearing said it seems like the hype surrounding the pep rally isworking on getting the children prepared to do their best duringthe state testing, but that they’ve already been prepped in theclassroom as well.

“I truly believe they are prepared, their teachers have beengetting them ready all year,” Gearing said. “I’m confident they’reready.”

The tests actually take place May 11-14, and Gearing said schoolofficials are just trying to remind students and parents to keeptheir priorities in line for that week.

“We want them to be well-rested, calm and relaxed, on time, andhave a good breakfast,” she said. “We’re trying to just motivatethem to do their best, because that’s all they can do is theirbest, but we don’t want to stress them out.”

And school officials said they hope that next year they will beable to put on the same kind of production to get the kids readyfor the yearly tests.

“This is the first time we’ve done this, and I feel like it wasreally successful and needed. The parents participated and wereexcited, I’m excited, the kids are excited,” she said. “We’ll do itagain next year if the merchants will have us.”