According to assistant principal Sam Reigle, Niles Middle School is Where Everyone Belongs.
The 2012 program, shortened to simply WEB, consists of 45 eighth grade students who applied and were interviewed for positions that would enable them to mentor sixth grade students coming to the school for the first time.
''We show them around the school and help them not be afraid,'' said eighth-grade WEB leader, Isaiah Warner.
Where Everyone Belongs (WEB) mentors and A-Team members from Niles Middle School worked to beautify the school following the sixth-grade orientation Aug. 16. Pictured front row, from left, are Maya Cruse, Kacie Cera, Marissa Montecalvo, Caitlin Seifert, Vincent Marchionte, Brooke Zucco, Isabella Reigle, Emily Hess, Austin Cline and Daniel McCartney. Second row, from left, are Isaiah Warner, Justin Beatty, Joseph Proper, Trenton Zickefoose, Emma Cruz, Irene Denney, Johnna Smith, Marlon Pearson, Jillian Swauger and Brian Lamp. Third row, from left, are Kenny Dubaj, Morgan Spell, Alissa Reichard, Jeremy Kelly, Makayla Allison, Trasa Rossi, Zaynah Lynn Williams, Derek Urichich and Jason Bowman. Back row, from left, are Erica Milijons, Hannah Ward, Jazmine Smith, Makenzie Price, Jenna Taylor and Jeffrey Kester. See more photos on Page 3.
This is the second year for WEB at the middle school, which began last year when principal John Yuhasz and Reigle attended a workshop on the program at Cleveland Heights High School.
Students who wish to participate as eighth-grade WEB leaders must first apply for the position and undergo an interview with program coordinators Anna Keatley and Carla Rose. Also working with the coordinators is Vicki Raptis. All are currently sixth grade teachers at the school.
During sixth-grade orientation day, WEB leaders take the new students on a tour of the school, introducing them to their classrooms and showing them how to get to places such as the library, gymnasium, science and band rooms. Following the tours, two WEB leaders are assigned a group of 10 sixth-grade students to work on team building activities as part of a peer orientation program.
WEB leaders also act as mentors to the sixth graders from helping them find their lockers on the first day of school to working on different activities throughout the school year.
In addition to the eighth-grade WEB leaders, about 10 seventh-grade students, who call themselves the A-Team, work with WEB leaders to help with the set up during orientation day.
''A-Team members could be future WEB leaders,'' Reigle said.
New to the program this year is the beautification program, organized by seventh-grade teacher Brian McConnell, Reigle said. Following the orientation program last week. WEB leaders and A-Team members spread mulch and helped with beautification projects at the school in preparation for the 2012-2013 year. WEB leaders and A-Team members who are also members of the school's cross-country team, helped spread wood chips on the cross country trail supervised by coach Bill Hess, Reigle said.
Students also were treated to a pizza party and were provided WEB leader T-shirts by program supporter and teacher Allan Zubyk.