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How Embarrassing! The Middle School Minefield

Phoenix class assignment

Getting through middle school is a lot like navigating a minefield. All it takes is one awkward moment – being picked last, leaving your fly down, crying in class – and boom! You’ve triggered an explosion of embarrassment.

Let’s face it. There’s no time in life that’s more awkward than middle school. We’ve got a lot going on during the transition between elementary school and high school…physical changes, mood swings, friend troubles. And, of course, weird smells.


But there is something schools can do to smooth the transition.

Promote school spirit.

According to research, having school spirit boosts students’ confidence in themselves, their school, and their community. It’s also linked to better school involvement and academic performance.

That’s why helveticka is inspired to see the staff of Yasuhara Middle School using their new mascot illustration and logo system to promote school spirit among the student body.

One sixth-grade teacher, for example, assigns a project that combines school spirit with cultural learning. She gives students a sketch of the Phoenix mascot and asks them to fill the outline with words and artwork that express who they are, including their interests and hobbies.

“It’s a way to build school spirit and reinforce the meaning behind it,” she explains. “Sometimes it’s hard for these kids to share things about themselves, but the Phoenix makes it easier.”

In a seventh-grade classroom, students can earn free time for art projects that incorporate the school mascot. The art teacher at Yasuhara has created a Phoenix stencil that students can apply to everything from face painting and pottery painting to tee shirt design.

Even the kids themselves are getting into the school spirit. Students are starting to embrace the “Yas!” cheer, and some of them will greet friends with a cool, “Hey, Yasgirl.”

But, whatever you do, don’t let on that we’ve noticed. Let’s keep this on the down low.

There’s no need to make things any more awkward than they already are.

Phoenix stencil



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