Kernersville Elementary, 5th Grade
Nominated By: Mrs. Thompson
On July 1, 2019, 10-year-old Juliana Dykstra and her family moved to Kernersville from a tiny town in Grand Junction, Michigan. The population in Grand Junction is only 3,513 and there are no schools, so Juliana took a bus to Bloomingdale every day. In Bloomingdale, the elementary, middle, and high schools were so small that they were all on the same campus. The elementary school had only 319 students and there were twenty-five to thirty students in the entire fifth grade class. Juliana attended Bloomingdale from pre-school through fourth grade until her family moved to Kernersville
Juliana’s mother was born and raised in Grand Junction, and she grew up living five miles from her parents. Her dad was born and raised 20 miles west of Grand Junction. It was the only place they had ever lived. Last year the family made a big decision. They wanted to move somewhere with better weather so they started looking at places all over the world. They had previously visited NC in 2017 to go gem mining in Hiddenite, and fell in love. On the way home from that trip they talked about moving here. Still, it was a big choice so they decided to tour the entire state of North Carolina. The result: Kernersville won out over every town. It felt huge to them, coming from such a town as Grand Junction, but it still had a small town feel. They could see immediately that Kernersville had good community, schools, it was safe, and diverse.
Not surprisingly, Juliana was very apprehensive about the move. In Michigan, she was involved in girl scouts, soccer, and excelled in school. Her major concern was leaving her friends. Her brother was also in middle school on her same campus and they rode the same bus. You would think that a move of this proportion would be difficult for Juliana. As a matter of fact, prior to the actual move, Juliana expressed much distress and sadness about leaving her home, friends, school, and community.
Fast forward to today. Juliana and her family feel very fortunate to have landed at Kernersville Elementary School (KES). Juliana is in the fifth grade classroom of Suellen Thompson, wife of Alderman Chris Thompson. Each month at Kernersville, students are recognized for specific character traits. During the month of February, Mrs. Thomas nominated Juliana as the “Student of the Month” who best communicates kindly and respectfully with her peers and teachers at school. She has the ability to look on the positive side of life and express appreciation for all.
Juliana’s mom, Michelle, describes Kernersville as being warm, welcoming, accepting of new people, and full of diversity. Juliana said, “I like Kernersville because it is a bigger town than Bloomingdale, and the schools feel safer here.” Michelle describes Juliana as being a good student in Bloomingdale and admits she is doing even better here. At Kernersville Elementary School, there’s been a lot of programs that she has had the opportunity to participate in. Juliana has especially loved being part of the yoga club at KES and she also enjoyed the Go Far running club. She likes KES because there are a lot more kids here than there were in her old school. She loves the pep rallies, being a banker for the ROAR store, school skate nights, and Chuck E. Cheese nights. In her neighborhood, there are kids who also attend Kernersville Elementary. In the past, she didn’t like riding a bus, but here in Kernersville she loves it. She sees it as an opportunity to make new friends.
Juliana has made friends and found her place easily in the school and community. She’s involved in horseback riding at Cash Lovell Stables. This past summer when they first arrived, she loved going to the YMCA to go swimming with her dad. Next year she will be attending Hanes Middle School. Her brother, Jonathan Dykstra, is now 14 and a freshman at East Forsyth High School. If one thing’s for sure, the Dykstra family has found their place in a safe, loving and caring community. We’re glad they chose us.