Haynes Middle Marquee

Haynes Middle’s Marquee Makes Sure Students Are Known
Posted on 09/28/2021
Haynes Middle Marquee

If you drive up to Haynes Middle School on West Trinity Lane from the interstate, you won’t see news about upcoming events or test dates on the marquee.

You’ll learn about one of the school’s 325 students instead.Sign celebrating student Damian

“Damian McGowan,” the marquee read last week. “Honest. Brilliant. Leader. Uplifter. 8th grade student.”

As MNPS schools work overtime to make sure every student is known as an individual and is on a path to success, Haynes’ principal, Roderick Webb, says he was inspired to use his school’s most prominent message board to celebrate and motivate both students and staff, who are honored each week on the other side of the marquee.

“I’m really big on making sure that our cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, and any other person who works with our students knows they are valued and that they matter,” Webb said.

That goes for the inside of the school, too. The hallways feature laminated photos of previous marquee messages, bulletin boards that showcase more students, and a display highlighting all the birthdays each month – with a party on the last Thursday of the month.

“It’s something everybody has,” Webb said after greeting a student who was celebrating her own birthday. “If you have a birthday, you deserve to be recognized.”

Students who have already been celebrated on the Haynes marquee this year, including Keanthony Pickett (“Selfless. Courteous. Humble. Neighborly. 8th grade student”) and Amari Weir (“Overcomer. Gifted. Chosen. Outgoing. 7th grade student”), said it felt good to see their names on display.

“My mother was proud of me,” Amari said as school was revving up Wednesday.

Webb said he has used the messages to help students see not only who they are but what they can be. He described one boy as “heroic” for taking care of his mother and called him “graduate” because he wanted to “plant that seed that you’re going to graduate.”sign celebrating student named terry

A marquee message can have more immediate effects, too.

Though Webb didn’t realize it at the time, one student was on the verge of leaving Haynes for a charter school when the principal placed the words “Scientist. Leader. Innovator. Intelligent” under his name out front. Webb had initially planned to put the spotlight on a different student that week, but something told him to talk about this child instead.

After the student told his mother about the marquee, she told Webb that “based on what she saw on the sign, she knows that this is what her son needs,” and the family canceled its transfer plans.

“You just never know,” Webb reflected. “The little things matter.”sign celebrating student named Tasia

Students aren’t the only ones at Haynes feeling known and valued. Faculty and support staff members sometimes find their names and best qualities on the other side of the marquee, visible to drivers and pedestrians heading east toward the school. Webb said he honored a custodian who had been having a hard time while raising her grandchildren because he “wanted her to know, ‘I see you, you matter, and your grandkids need you.’ ”

Webb, who encourages others to “identify their superpower” and calls himself “Dr. Connector,” puts the letters on the marquee himself each week. He said he’ll continue “as long as God is giving me the words.”

“It’s something I feel on my heart that I need to do.”

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