Swanton Middle School’s Riah McAllister Shakes Out as the Best

Despite all the challenges that the Swanton Middle School (SMS) faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic, school administrators and faculty were still able to hold the Amazing Shake Competition with a condensed version delayed by a year, for the seventh-grade class (2025) as part of the Swanton Seven Initiative (SSI).  The Amazing Shake is a competition that focuses on building soft skills in students, placing strong emphasis on manners, discipline, respect, and professional behavior.

The event was inspired by the National Amazing Shake Competition that is held every year at the acclaimed Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. To demonstrate these skills, students worked their way through “The Gauntlet.” There were seven stations in “The Gauntlet” and each put students’ abilities to the test. Each student had to show great poise and confidence in personal interactions as well as exhibit effective management skills.

The student that came out on top after all the intense competition was, now incoming high school freshman, Riah McAllister who received a Commendation from the Swanton Board of Education for her achievement during the Board’s June meeting.  “I was scared because our first round, when we were in seventh-grade, I went up against the entire class, all my peers.  It’s a lot of pressure,” said Riah.  “But they don’t pick you because they think you’re cool.  They pick you because they think you’re ready.”

The lessons learned in the SSI and put into practice during the Amazing Shake Competition tend to quickly raise the maturity level of the students as well as instilling a strong sense of confidence.  Riah was a prime example of this.  “She came from being super shy to now being open and outgoing.  It’s really great.  I’m very proud,” said her mother.

Riah will soon begin a new adventure when she enters Swanton High School this Fall.  “I’m nervous but I’m also excited because it’s the start of a new chapter for me.  It’s pushing me more towards my future and who knows what the future is going to bring,” she said. 

Pictured:  Swanton Middle School Assistant Principal Leigh Pancoast presents Riah McAllister with a Board Commendation

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