Seventh grader creates social media website for new school

Tilford said the site has helped him be more of an extrovert.

It’s become a common practice for graduates from different high schools to connect on social media websites and virtually “meet” each other before arriving at college. Now, a Kentucky seventh grader has applied that idea to his new high school as well.

Connor Tilford is connecting with his classmates in the first McCracken County High School class—and none of them are even at the school yet.

Tilford, a seventh-grader at Heath Middle School, created the site ConnectingMcCracken about a month ago and already had signed up 24 members as of press time.

So far, Tilford told The Paducah Sun, the site is mostly populated by classmates at his current school. But he’s hopeful that students from Reidland and Lone Oak middle schools will sign on soon as word of mouth attracts students.

The site is loosely structured like Facebook. Students can apply to be a part of the site, but Tilford has the final say on who is allowed on. Students keep up profiles, somewhat similar to Facebook. They also can post pictures and respond to comments.

Tilford already has started conversations about what elective classes middle school students want to take at the new high school and what they did over fall break.

Tilford said the site has helped him be more of an extrovert.

Students at the new high school likely will keep to what they know, but at some point, Tilford said, they will have to branch out. He hopes ConnectingMcCracken can be a catalyst.

Tildford plans to enter his website into a competition with the Student Technology Leadership Program. It’s the first year for the after-school club at Heath Middle School. He hopes to have 50 student members by the December competition, with at least 10 students from each school.

Tilford’s adviser, Chris Lacey, said the students have driven the program thus far.

“I’m just the facilitator,” he said. “That’s why I’m proud of Connor, because he has done all this on his own.”

Lacey embraces Tilford’s attitude about the new school.

“We’re all still seventh- and eighth-grade kids, still middle school teachers,” Lacey said. “He’s got a strong project. But I think beyond that, it will be immeasurable what he can do.”

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