Mason will walk across the stage tonight as a Gray Elementary graduate. While many students anticipated vacations and time away from school, Mason looked forward Wednesday to spending his summer learning.
“I need to keep myself in the school groove,” he said. “I was a part of a program this year that’s supposed to educate students and let them experience the ACT. I didn’t get the score I necessarily wanted. I studied one particular subject because I wanted to succeed in that subject alone.”
Mason researched algebra, calculus and trigonometry as an eighth-grader at Gray. The future engineer channeled his thirst for knowledge by using the internet.
Although Mason didn’t achieve the ACT score he wanted, he scored something else at Gray — something he can’t Google.
“There are role models here that educate you on life in general — ‘you can’t be perfect, but you can try,’” Mason said. “Things like that. I just can’t list them all.”
Principal Erika Patterson will be there when Mason and the other eighth-graders say their goodbyes tonight.
“I love each and every one of them and those little characteristics about them that are going to be going with them,” Patterson said. “Recently I spent a few days with our eighth-graders in Charleston (South Carolina) on their end-of-the-year trip. I see their personalities here, but to see them in a different setting has been a whole new experience for me.”
Patterson spent her first year as principal forming bonds with her students both in and outside of the classroom. Gray Elementary concentrated on the importance of scholastic and societal skills students use in everyday life.
“We are focused on academics, and while that is important, the social aspect is extremely important as well,” she said. “I have to say that something we’ve worked really hard on this year is building those relationships with the community as well as building the culture and climate in the building.”