STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Gildersleeve 8th grader Lauren Kirby

Serves as a guide for new students

Posted: May 30, 2024

Any new student at Gildersleeve Middle School will have one friend the minute they come through the door.

Lauren Kirby, an eighth grader, guides new students and serves as a student ambassador. She enjoys being someone's first friend while showing them around.

"It's very welcoming," Kirby said. "Whenever you go somewhere new, you're obviously going to feel like an outcast a little bit. Because you're new; you don't really know anybody.

"When there's somebody there who is willing to help and is willing to guide you and make your life a little bit easier, that's helpful and a lot of people like that."

Staying positive and providing a listening ear for other students is important to her.

"I know that school's already hard enough; being a teenager's already hard enough," Kirby said. "With everybody hormonal and everybody finding themselves, why not put a smile on somebody's face? If somebody's having an off day or they're sad: Hey it's OK; let's do something. How about we write. How about we draw together."

She looks for ways to compromise with people, trading off activities that might interest one more than the other. Making sure that everybody is OK and feels like they are heard makes her an advocate for her classmates.

"It's better to uplift people than to bring them down," Kirby said. "Once you know how that feels, why would you want to make somebody else feel that way?"

Kirby encourages others while constantly taking on new challenges academically and in volleyball, which she participates in at Gildersleeve and travel team Coastal Hampton Roads. She either practices or competes in volleyball most days and calls it her "safe space."

She welcomes the challenges of her classes and relishes figuring them out, which keeps her on her toes, she said. It's similar to solving puzzles, which she's very big on.

"With a puzzle, you have to keep searching for that missing piece until you get it all together," Kirby said. "Academically, with the classes that I take, each and every one of them challenges me. And I love that because I love challenges.

"That's great. And when a student's being challenged, it's great because it keeps you going. I got this or I know this. And then the next thing comes and I don't really know this one so much. What can I do to understand it more? Maybe I can learn a different method."

Visit Student Spotlights on the Newport News Public Schools website.

Visit <a href=>Student Spotlights</a> on the Newport News Public Schools website.
Visit Student Spotlights on the Newport News Public Schools website.