Getting Hockinson Middle School’s main wing open in time for the first day of classes this fall was a feat.
First, a reconfigured construction plan brought the opening a year earlier than originally expected. Then, the district’s contractor, Robinson Construction, had to overcome about 90 days of lost worktime due to last winter’s record-setting cold, wet weather.
But opening a new school requires more than finishing a building and striping a parking lot. Students, staff and families all need help acclimating to new facilities and finding their way around.
That’s where a cadre of volunteers stepped up to help make the new Home of the Hornets feel like … home.
Betsy Oliverio, the HMS representative with PWT (People Working Together), put out the call on Facebook for help with the first three days of school. Twenty parents volunteered and helped direct traffic—cars in parking lots and students in halls—and spent time with Hornets in the lunchroom and on the playground.
“We loaded up at the beginning to help parents and students know where to go and to cut down on the anxiety of the students,” said Principal Brian Lehner. Now, several weeks into the school year, at least one volunteer is usually on hand at lunchtime to play games and talk with students.
“I want to break that barrier of parents thinking kids don’t want them here, because that’s just not true,” said Oliverio, whose son Enzo is in seventh grade. When parents show up to volunteer, Oliverio says their students’ faces “light up.” So do the parents.
“It’s fun to get to know (our students’) friends,” said volunteer Megan Schierling, whose son Benjamin is in 6th grade. Originally published in Hockinson’s November 2017 newsletter “Education Matters.”