Breckenridge Texan

BJHS offers student and counselor a different perspective

BJHS offers student and counselor a different perspective
March 02
06:56 2018

Things were a little switched around at Breckenridge Junior High School on Wednesday. Seventh-grader Levi Adams was sporting a tie and roaming the halls, classrooms and cafeteria, and interacting with fellow students as Principal for a Day. Meanwhile, BJHS Counselor Sandy Monty was attending classes, taking tests and seeing school life as an eighth-grade student.

BJHS Principal Mich Etzel said Levi won the chance to be Principal for a Day by winning a reading contest. She chose two books for the contest — “How to Train Your Dragon” and “The Mermaid’s Sister” — that she had already read and knew the kids liked. Then, the first student to finish reading one of the books and take the AR (Accelerated Reader) test on the book would get to the meet with her and tell her about the book for a chance to be Principal for a Day.

Etzel said Levi really impressed her with his knowledge of “How to Train Your Dragon.”

“I can tell if they really read the book,” she said. “He knew the book like the back of his hand. I read the book last year. So this year I read a few parts of it again, and he was able to remind me of some things I had actually forgotten. He knew the book.”

She said sometimes there is a movie based on a book, like the one on “How to Train Your Dragon,” and students will try to utilize the movie to take the AR test, but the movie is different.

“The movie’s different, and I knew that,” she said. “He was able to talk to me about the differences between the book and the movie.”

She said there was another student who finished the book and the AR test on the same day as Levi, but he came in about an hour and a half later.

For Levi, his favorite part of being principal was getting to walk around meeting the other students and greeting them. He said it was also interesting to see what other types of duties the principal’s job entails that the students don’t normally see.

“We don’t see much of her job when we’re in the classroom,” he said. “It was cool to see what else she does besides observing the classroom.”

Another surprise about the job he said was how many classes they visited during the day. Etzel said he also had lunch duty, but it was pretty simple. However she said he was pretty surprised how late they had to eat.

“We’d go into the cafeteria just to manage the line to make sure kids aren’t cutting,” she said. “We’d be picking up trash, and we just talked with the kids and made sure they’re seated and picked up their trash and put away their chairs.”

And when she asked him “A good principal does what?” he replied “Picks up trash, a good principal always picks up trash.”

She said another things Levi learned about being principal was they are in the hall a lot.

When asked about how the other students reacted to him being principal, he said, “Most of my friends knew I was going to be principal for the day, so they’d just tell me I look good or whatever.” But, two teachers did ask him for a raise.

He said when he goes back to being a student and his friends asked about the job, he’ll probably tell them about all the things they did and all the duties she has that they wouldn’t expect.

Etzel said Levi was lucky he was able to experience so much of the job. One thing the Principal for a Day isn’t allowed to participate in is discipline meetings. “Today’s been a really good day,” Etzel said. “I’ve only had to deal with four different discipline incidents. So, he was able to go get the kids and bring them in, and then he sits and waits outside.”

While the principal’s job requires paper work too, Etzel said because of privacy issues, Levi wasn’t able to see much of the paper work side. But, she said he was able to do a little bit of paper work that he was allowed to see.

Back to school for the Counselor

Breckenridge Junior High Counselor Shandy Monty looks over the shoulder of her shadow student Savanah Fade, 13, during eight-grade band practice. Also practicing are Diana Mendoza, 14, Gavyn Wilson, 14, and Devan McGee, 14. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

For BJHS Counselor Shandy Monty, attending classes side by side with eighth-grader Savanah Fade, 13, gave her perspective on what a student experiences each day at school. She said there is a movement to shadow a student as an exercise in empathy to see what students are doing during the day.

“We just try to see through the eyes of the students, what their day is like and what they do,” Monty said. “I had to do Spanish today, honors math. I had a math test today”

One thing she learned from the experience was that students have to go up and down the stairs a lot during the day.

“I do, too,” she said. “My office is on the second floor, so I go up and down them all the day, but she (Savanah) goes all over the place, everything is spread out. I knew that, but walking it is a little bit different.”

Another eye opener for Monty, which she said was good for her, was to see how many students Savanah interacted with each day because she’s a part of a lot of different groups,

Monty said in comparing her day as a junior high student to back when was in she junior high she saw some differences, but other things were the same.

“There is so much more technology,” she said. “Almost every class we’ve been in, we’ve used some sort of technology. And back in the stone ages, we didn’t even have Internet.”

However, she said, kids are still kids. “They’re still hanging out together and doing their social kind of stuff,” she said.

Monty said it was a positive experience and she would recommend it for more than just counselors and administrators, but also teachers. She said it would allow them see what the kids are going through in their classes and see how other teachers present things.

“I really think it’s good for all educators to see what these kids’ days look like,” she said.

Monty said the teachers in the classes treated her just like one of the students and gave her the same work as the students. She said during group work, she worked in the group with Savannah.

“They handed me the work, and I just did it, probably some of it not very well, but that’s OK. My math test I’m pretty sure I failed,” she said, laughing.

The counselor said her favorite class was English, because she just loved English. But the one that surprised her was the Spanish class. She said she hadn’t had a Spanish class since she was in high school, but it was fun.

Savanah said having her counselor attend classes side-by-side with her during the day was fun. She said it was similar to back in the fall when parents came to the school and attended classes with their kids.

One thing Savanah said she hoped Monty could see from her experience was how hard it is to get places sometimes because things are so spread out.

When asked what class she thought Monty seemed to be enjoying the most, she said probably her GT class because this week they were learning how to play different strategy games. She said her own favorite class was probably GT, also.

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Top photo, cutline: Seventh-grader Levi Adams monitors the hallway between class changes at Breckenridge Junior High School on Wednesday. He won a reading contest at the school and a chance to be Principal for a Day. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Support The Breckenridge Texan

Paid Political Ad Policy

The Breckenridge Texan’s policies allow for the inclusion of paid political ads on the website, The ads do not reflect the views of, or serve as an endorsement by, the Breckenridge Texan website or its staff or leadership. The Breckenridge Texan does not endorse political candidates or parties.


The Breckenridge Texan is dedicated to evenhanded news reporting of political activities, events, and statements. The Breckenridge Texan accepts political advertising without bias or regard to party or candidate. The Breckenridge Texan has the responsibility to reject material that is libelous, obscene, or fraudulent or that does not otherwise meet its standards.


When paid political ads are running, a copy of this policy will be posted on the front page of the website in the right column.


All paid political ads will be clearly marked with the statement “Political ad paid for by (Name of Person Paying for Ad),” as required by the Texas Elections Law.