Nacogdoches middle schoolers dance to stay focused

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Teachers are entrusted to - among other things - help build the leadership skills of their students. Sometimes, students learn those skills on their own.

That's the case at McMichael Middle School in Nacogdoches. Hip hop is helping some sixth graders there do their best on the dance floor and in the classroom.

Sixth grader Joshua Barnes formed Next Generation, a break-dancing, street, and hip hop dance group. His natural leadership skills convinced teachers to let the group practice during lunch. Joshua had his strategy worked out.

"You have to have good behavior, no referrals because if you have referrals you can't be in the dance crew," Joshua Barnes, a Nacogdoches sixth grader, said. "And you have to have good behavior in class."

Teachers have been lecturing that kind of thing for decades. This time, they didn't say a word.

"There's a few boys in here that have had some discipline issues in class and as you've seen josh is a great leader, and he's really stepped up to the plate to encourage his friends, to inspire them, to be better students, and to be better, just role models for other students," Andi Howell, a language arts teacher at McMichael Middle School, said.

Next Generation would rather dance than study.

If a grade drops below 70, it means sitting out for a week, so most go to after school tutorials twice a week. Decedrian Colston was struggling in math and social studies. He said he's back in because, "my friends helped me."

Next Generation is also a confidence builder.

"We were a little shy at first, but then we overcame it and never been scared anymore," Denarius Cumby, a sixth grader at McMichael Middle School, said.

The dance may be a bit silly for most of us, but the discipline needed to stay in step sends an important message to adults.

"They think we're not that mature," Colton Dill, a six grader at McMichael Middle School, said. "Us working together to accomplish something just proves that we are mature enough to work together."

Certainly, Next Generation is taking a step in the right direction. Next Generation has influenced other students to begin their own dance crews. The same rules apply. By doing well in school, they can show off their moves on the dance floor.

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