In August, 50 Pioneer Middle School seventh and eighth graders participated in Pioneer Peer & Leadership Support training to learn more about the program.

Afterward, all incoming sixth graders were invited to an orientation from PALs.

The sixth-grade students received tours of the school, were assigned lockers and learned about school expectations.

And this week, Pioneer's sixth graders are attending STARS Camp this week at Camp Kiwanis.

The students will spend the school day getting to know each other, learning about school climate, outdoor education and generally building community, according to the Sept. 11 Walla Walla Public Schools Week In Review.

Along with parent volunteers, Pioneer PALS seventh- and eighth-grade mentors, attend STARS Camp with the sixth grade advisories to support their PALS and continue to develop mentor relationships.

Pioneer counselors Judy Anderson and David Tegtmeier say this experience goes a long way to enhancing sixth-graders' middle school experience.

A quick-acting parent came to the aid of a Pioneer Middle School student who was hit by a car Sept. 9 at the corner of Ruth and McCabe streets while riding his bicycle home from school, according to the Sept. 11 Walla Walla Public Schools Week In Review. Local police did not cite the driver.

The student received initial first-aid care from Kathryn Southwick-Hess, a longtime Walla Walla resident, nurse and mother of school-aged children, including a Pioneer student.

The injured student has been treated and is recovering at home.

"It was fortunate Mrs. Hess was on the scene and available to help," Pioneer Principal Dana Jones said. "She has always been a willing volunteer and great friend to children in Walla Walla, but in this instance especially, her quick action and skill were truly a blessing."

In light of the accident, Dana sent home a reminder to parents asking them to reinforce bicycle and walking safety for students, including wearing helmets, crossing at crosswalks, using sidewalks and looking both ways before crossing.

Parents were also asked to park well back from crosswalks and corners so that students are easily visible to oncoming traffic.

"Our parents and students have responded very well to our request to help keep students safe on their way to and from school," Dana said.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at or afternoons at 526-8313.


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