Social studies teacher Jayme Marston speaks to her fifth-grade class at Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico on Tuesday. The students in Regional School Unit 10 were moved this year to alleviate overcrowding in Rumford and Mexico elementary schools. Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson

MEXICO — Fifth-graders in Regional School Unit 10 are getting settled at Mountain Valley Middle School where they join sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders for the first time.

The 96 new students were moved from Rumford Elementary and Meroby Elementary schools to alleviate overcrowding. Some admitted they were nervous about the change.

“I was kind of afraid at first,” Tyler Sanders said Tuesday, “but after a few days I started getting used to it.”

He said his classmates from last year helped him feel comfortable when he moved from New Jersey to Maine.

Ryder Harding said he was “a little nervous” being with older students and getting to classes, but he was glad his classmates were all in one wing.

Zachary Spitzer said he was “nervous and scared” being with eighth- graders and switching classrooms. However, he said having a folder with his schedule in it and attending  summer school in the building allowed him to see the locations of the gym and the technology room.

The fifth and sixth grades are in one wing and the seventh and eighth grades are in another to alleviate concerns of students and parents, Principal Ryan Casey said Tuesday.

To accommodate the fifth grade, another portable building was added near two others.

On Tuesday afternoon, fifth-grade social studies teacher Jaymie Marston told her class about the school code: “Show respect, act responsibly and do what’s right.”

“We’re working on what it means to be a good citizen and what it means to be a good person,” she said.

Students also learned the classroom motto: “I can change the world with my own two hands.”

Incorporating that message, they made handprints that included items they like.

Ella Melcher drew skis and a pencil because she likes skiing and drawing, she said.

Melina Byam drew skis, a football and pompoms “because I like cheering,” she said.

And Abigail Dyment decorated her hand drawing with a doughnut sprinkle design and a basketball to represent what she enjoys.

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