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Sherman third-graders learn Malabar is 'really just a big family'

Principal Andrea Moyer and other staff members lined the sidewalk to welcome Sherman Elementary third-graders to Malabar Intermediate School early Monday.

      There were lots of somber expressions when three busloads of Sherman Elementary School third-graders walked into Malabar Intermediate School Monday morning. But smiles dominated when they walked out a couple of hours later.

      Approximately 130 third-graders got their first close look at the school where they will be fourth-grades in August. During the course of the morning orientation they discovered that while Malabar is a large building it really isn’t a scary place.

      Prospect and Woodland third-graders will visit on Tuesday. All incoming fourth-graders and their parents will be invited to attend a more detailed orientation session and building tour from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 15.

      “How many of you are nervous about coming to Malabar?” principal Andrea Moyer asked the students assembled at the front of the auditorium.

      Most hands shot up.

      “My goal is to make you feel safe and keep you safe,” Moyer said. “In our school all of the classrooms are on one end. Fourth grade has its own area. We have a police officer and lots of cameras in our building. We work on safety all the time.

      “We follow the ‘High 5’ here. Can you say it?"

      The students, urged on their second attempt to be louder, shouted, “Responsible! Respectful! Ready! Safe! Proud!”

      Four fourth-grade girls read brief letters they had prepared.

      “Dear Third-Graders,” one girl read, “I know this school looks big but you’re going to like Malabar. The teachers are nice. They will be with you everywhere. You will never be alone.”

      The Sherman kids also heard from assistant principal Tom Hager, guidance counselors Tim Grassel and Katherine Costin, intervention specialist Dawn Cole and resource police officer Orlando Chatman. They learned that their opportunities will range from swimming lessons in the Malabar pool to study on the school’s nature trail and from orchestra to field trips that include the Great Lakes Science Center.

      “We have very high expectations of you,” Hager said. “If you do well in school you will enjoy many fun things.”

      Hager, Grassel and Costin urged all third-graders to turn immediately to adults at Malabar if they experience any problems.

      “If something is bothering you or if you are being bullied, you must tell us,” Grassel said. ‘We can’t help if we don’t know. Talk to us.”

      “When you walk into this building you will see lots of adults,” Hager said. “If you need something or have a problem, see one of them.”

      Hager introduced the enthusiastic Cole, who he described as “our cheerleader, our everything.”

      Cole led the Sherman kids in shouting the Malabar cheer: “We are Malabar! No Excuses!”

      “We are really just a big family here,” she said. “And we treat each other as family.”

      After the auditorium session, the third-graders were divided into groups to visit the swimming pool, the gymnasium and a classroom before ending their tour in the cafeteria.

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