INSIGHT: An 8th Grader’s Journey

By Sydney and Piper Belfiore (Class of 2026)

Sydney & Piper: As our final year in middle school is ending, we have been asked to reflect on our experience in the old and new Middle School building and the connections we made along the way.

Piper: When I started my journey at EPS, I was a lowly fifth grader. My twin sister, Sydney, and I only had a year and a half in the Middle School building before COVID swept in. Looking back four years later (much to my embarrassment), my fashion sense was terrible and I was your stereotypical screenager. Okay, maybe I am being a bit dramatic! I had no clue how much I would miss lounging on those big comfy chairs, decorating cubbies for various Hallmark holidays, and most of all, that abysmal Spanish room with no windows and a suffocating stench of teenage boys. But I digress, my point being that I didn’t appreciate the connections and sentimentality the old Middle School building gave me. I was ignorant, and my growth from that unawareness makes me cherish the Middle School even more.

Sydney: Throughout COVID, I struggled to connect with my peers. Teams calling was bleak and did not satisfy my hope to connect with friends face to face. With the addition of the draining six hours of online school, I needed a break, and online interactions were anything but. For months, the only classmate I got to interact with in-person was my twin sister…yay. Eventually, after about a year of online isolation, we switched to hybrid. Hybrid was an upgrade from online but didn’t feel the same as sixth grade, especially since we had all our classes in the foreign Upper School buildings, nor did we have a formal common space. Despite the hardships and adversity, we slowly started to rebuild our connections and return to “normal.”

Sydney & Piper: Now, as our time as semi-functioning successful eighth graders is concluding (with a slightly better fashion sense on Piper’s part), we are thrilled and grateful to get back to the Middle School building. The new building itself has created an area of belonging for all Middle Schoolers, both socially and academically. Despite the brief time we will get to utilize this space, we know it will positively impact our lives, and we’re excited about the memories still to come!