Shortly after the school year began, Natomas Middle School held a loud outdoor rally with music and dancing and banners signed by hundreds of students pledging to “Live the Panther Way.”
To Principal Shea Borges, the rally marked a key step in enhancing the culture of Natomas Middle School, instilling school pride, setting expectations, and emphasizing that Panther is more than a school mascot, it’s a way of life.
The pledge listed 10 positive attributes expected of Natomas Middle School Panthers, including that students be principled, caring, open-minded, balanced, reflective, thinkers, inquirers, risk-takers, knowledgeable, and communicative.
“The message is that we’re working right now to graduate from high school as college and career ready,” Borges said, adding that the 10 attributes are core values of International Baccalaureate, a highly touted academic program to which NMS is linked.
Students were asked to sign the Panther Pledge based on the year in which they will graduate from high school — 6th graders signed as the “Class of 2022,” for example, while 8th graders were the “Class of 2020.”
Each pledge signer received a wristband engraved with the words, “Living the Panther Way.”
The banners will be displayed at Natomas Middle School as a symbol of commitment by each NMS class to work together, to act responsibly, and eventually to graduate together from high school.
Each student, perhaps, had his or her own reason for signing.
“I’m pledging to help make this school a better place and making sure we all treat each other as equals,” said Margaret, 13.
“I pledge to be respectful, responsible, and kind to others,” said Aanyah, 10.
“I’m pledging to be a better person at school,” said Khamiyah, 10.
To Abby, 12, the pledge means to “try to live the Panther Way – be kind, be responsible, be nice to each other.”