8th Grade Open House introduces the incoming class of 2026 to Neuqua Valley


Neuqua Valley

A sign shows the symbol for the upcoming Class of 2026.

Neuqua will host its annual 8th Grade Open House that gives a chance for incoming freshmen to get a feel of what Neuqua is about. At the open house, you’ll get to visit the campus, meet the teachers and counselors, find out more about what classes are offered and much more. The open house will be held from 6:30p.m. to 7:15p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022.

Middle school has long been difficult for young people to navigate. I think we all can remember the stress of leaving the comfort of 8th grade, moving from a small pond to the intimidating ocean of Neuqua and the other valley schools.

A question arises with this year’s incoming freshman: is the class of 2026 ready for highschool? With the pandemic taking its course, most students worked remotely last year. That means middle schoolers are one year behind (some of them, two) on the valuable unique experiences that often only come from the junior high years. Scott Todnem, an award winning health teacher from Scullen Middle School thinks along the same lines.

“Middle school students have been hit with an interruption in their social and emotional development in the sense that interpersonal interactions we’ve witnessed this year have been a bit immature. That certainly affects middle school development, which in turn impacts high school preparedness.” 

“Students need and deserve face-to-face relationship building. This includes how to talk, how to listen, how to use body language, how to practice patience, how to respectfully disagree and how to have empathy for others. It’s hard to be successful in high school—and beyond—without such personal skills.”

It’s important for the Class of 2026 and the classes that come after to have the support and behavior models from parents, teachers, coaches and other adults. We can certainly help correct any pandemic setbacks we’ve seen in the development of young people in the world, most importantly in our own district. It will take time, consistency and a whole lot of compassion. The 8th Grade Open House is just the start of this.