Step aside, middle school -- we're all done with you here!

So I don't know about you, but I find middle school to be a very tricky proposition, especially for girls. Academically kids are thrown into multiple classrooms during a day for the first time, and into courses that demand more and more of them -- and they encounter teachers who cut them less and less slack. On top of that, it seems like the "mean girl" phenomenon really kicks in to high gear right about 7th grade, and too many intimidated urchins who once said whatever was in their heads or on their hearts just shut down. Too many of them feel like they have to wear a mask -- all day, every day.

And then there's puberty -- that bitch! She whacks our girls over the head with so many changes all at once that I am convinced most of them feel itchy in their own bodies every minute of the day -- and then she stirs up a big batch of hormone stew that makes our sweet girls cranky and sad and giddy and worried and passionately in love and on the verge of tears -- all at the same time.

Middle school sucks.

And that's why the sunny girl is my hero. My tall and graceful ballerina has danced her way through three years that could have sucked her soul dry. Instead, she laughed, sang, twirled, and went rock climbing -- always knowing when to strike a dramatic pose.

She chose great friends and made good decisions and is more than ready to be a Bulldawg. Look out, C.D. Hylton High School: the sunny girl has three more days of eighth grade left, and I am here to tell you that she kicked middle school's ass.