By Martha Jacob
Chris Smith, principal of the Ripley-Union- Lewis-Huntington Middle School, has been on the job for about four years and has implemented several new programs that are working well at the middle school.
One such program is called “Future Fridays” which have become part of Flex time at the school. Flex time is 30 minutes a day that have been set aside as special time for students to use as a study hall, where kids can do their homework, have response interventions or do other things.
“Future Fridays are just for our 8th grade students,” Principal Smith said. “I have invited all kinds of professionals in the workforce to come into our school and speak one-on-one to our students about their futures. The guests go right into the classroom and they have 30 minutes of Flex time to talk and answer questions with the kids.
“Last week, just before a special assembly, Brown County Probate/Juvenile Court Judge Danny Bubp went into the classrooms of our 8th graders and talked to the kids. He talked about how drugs could hurt their future and send them down the wrong path.”
He continued, “I’ve also had Levi Rosenbaum, a computer programmer at General Electric in Cincinnati come in and talk to the 8th graders.”
Smith said Danielle Thompson with water conservation spoke to the kids on a Future Friday as did Becky Cropper and Guy Hopkins, principal of Southern Hills Career and Technical Center.
The new local wildlife officer Eric Lamb, the nursing coordinator from UC along with two nursing students and a highway Patrol officer have all taken part in a Future Friday.
“Last week for Future Friday we had about a dozen of our students compete in a turkey-calling contest, which was great fun,” Smith said, “The big winner of the event was Maci Haitz who used a box call. She did an amazing job.”
Principal Smith added that he encourages the Triple AAA plan which stresses Attendance (if they’re not in school they can’t learn), Attitude (determines altitude: “No Stinkin Thinkin”) and Academics (achievement leads to college and career skills, which leads to job opportunities, which leads to a paycheck, which leads to financial independence.)
“I stress the Triple AAA any chance I get throughout the school year to our 8th graders,” Smith said. “We’ve got some great students here and we’re proud of them all.”