Updated: Jul 24, 2019
“Francis run my "stuff" back!” said a young fella’ from outside the school. I was only 12,. A young boy growing up in Durham, NC. I was at Brogden Middle. My first day of Middle School was a different type of vibe. I felt old, but time was passing too slow because I already wanted to be in the eighth grade. I had my headphones in, listening to some good old Kanye West, specifically my favorite album from him, The College Dropout. I was trapping off the old Samsung phone as that was the only phone accessible to me before I started getting my own money. I saw a few old friends from elementary, but not the ones I was really close with. I was expecting some of my best friends to go, as I saw them during the Open House a few days beforehand.
It was August 2016 and I was coming fresh off what I can still call one of the best summers I’ve ever had. It was a very eventful summer, and many things happened that still impact me to this day. Everybody was quiet on the first day, as it should be because everybody is nervous to talk to each other. Nothing else eventful happened afterward, but as the year progressed, more strange things happened and as time passed, it got progressively stranger and stranger. People were acting more and more confident, so they thought they were all big and bad and could do anything. I could sort of relate on a spiritual level, as I would do some dumb things, but mainly things that probably wouldn’t get me in trouble.
A few would probably be really dumb to do in 6th grade, such as hide in a locker for almost an entire class period. Somehow, I didn't get in trouble for doing that. Luckily. That happened somewhere around September, which gave birth to a spawn of dumb choices that landed me in quite a bit of trouble, but never something as bad as a suspension, or expulsion from school.
The worst consequence I ever got was a few days in ISS here and there or On Team ISS which wasn’t that bad come to think of it. My experience in ISS in 6th grade was weird because being with a bunch of 7th and 8th graders made me feel like the baby at the big kid party. I was always reserved; didn’t talk to many of the people there as I didn’t know them. Come to think of it, the only reason I would get ISS was because of my art teacher, who wasn’t really an art teacher. She would always get on my nerves because she really was a rude person who didn’t respect for me.
Chorus during first semester was an eye-opening experience. The teacher, Ms. Huber, was really chill. She always gave our class food since we were the good elective. I really don’t remember second-semester electives, since they were really boring. My first elective that semester was a STEM class, which wasn’t interesting at all. My second elective for second semester was P.E. Some of my friends were in the class, but it was very forgettable. There were, however, a few funny and memorable moments, like when we made prank calls on Free Friday. I think we got reported to the police one day because the person on the other end of the phone knew we were prank calling and said, “I’m gonna report this number to the police”. We got really scared. After that call, one of my friends told me about *67 and *69. This was a lifesaver for me and my boys, as now we could unleash a huge amount of prank calls at the same time, and risk-free.
Around October, me and my family moved. DPS offered a weird program where I could basically go to Brogden for the rest of the 2016-17 school year and they would pick me up at my new house, but for the next year, I would have to go to Neal Middle for 7th and 8th grade or until I move to another school district. It was very scary thinking of it, but I had to do what I had to do. I set a goal to have as many memorable times as possible. I was basically on a running clock, ‘til the last day of school and I’m proud to say I successfully accomplished that goal.
In the end, my time came and I would have to go to Neal for 7th grade. Time in the 6th grade, past around March, just got lame. Everybody was really getting mentally prepared for the EOGs, so everybody was chill, and after the EOGs, people got back on their grind and started messing around the school. Summer ‘17 was actually one of, if not the worst, summers I’ve ever had as I didn’t really have much to do. I didn’t know my neighbors then as I know them now, so I just stayed home for the summer and without Wi-Fi because it got cut off. It was all around dreading. There were days where I would just wake up, eat, and go back to sleep until lunch. I would sleep again until dinner, then sleep for the night.
There would be few days where I would get out of the house and go to a soccer field with cousins. Every now and then, I would go with friends, but my mom was strict towards me, so I rarely ever went out with friends. But, when she would let me, it would always be a fun experience. Summer passed with a few things happening here and there.
Then 7th grade happened, my eventual first day at Neal. That school was an experimental experience, if that makes sense. I did many things (good and bad) and somehow I came out of 7th grade on a good note. The first few months for me were slow, making a few friends here and there. I made a good friend, sort of a sidekick, named Justin. He was a good friend, to be honest. We had many good times, like when he came to my house and we sneaked out and walked to a nearby soccer field. He left after 7th grade, but we still have contact every now and then. I made some other friends on until January, where I guess I could say I just started talking to everybody, and stopped being kinda shy. I was doing my thing, having good grades, and also behaving well.
Every now and then, I had a little bit of trouble with my name, but nothing serious, as I was getting rewarded a lot by the principal. Dr. Fuga was a good principal that year. I joined the lacrosse team as a spring sport, to do something I had never done before. We weren’t a good team, by a mile, but it was still a fun experience. We went camping as a field trip for the team, which was a very exciting and fun moment. Honestly, I don’t recall everything that happened because it went by like a flash. The last day of 7th grade was calm because everybody was ready for 8th grade; waiting for the next challenge and the last year of middle school.
Everybody was confident in themselves, trying their hardest to scrape their way out of the hole that was Neal Middle. Little did our small class of 23 know that we would soon walk into a beast called 8th grade. A grade filled with huge amounts of work, a bunch of strict teachers, and over the top administrators. But that story is for another day.