GROTON -- Groton-Dunstable Regional Middle School, along with middle-level schools throughout the United States, will celebrate Month of the Young Adolescent this month to draw attention to the unique needs of 10- to 15-year-olds and the ways people can support those youngsters.

The celebration was created in 1997 by the National Middle School Association in collaboration with 31 other national educational, youth and health organizations. Today, 41 groups, as well as NMSA's 57 affiliates, are collaborating on Month of the Young Adolescent.

"The period of early adolescence is the second most important time in a person's development and the best chance to shape a person's future," states Sue Swaim, NMSA's executive director. "It's essential that all of us -- educators, parents, family members the business community -- help young adolescents succeed academically while meeting their social needs.

Month of the Young Adolescent was created to bring about greater awareness of four key concepts that will help young adolescents reach their potential:

* The importance of parents being knowledgeable about young adolescents and being actively involved in their lives;

* The understanding that healthy bodies plus healthy minds equal healthy young adolescents;

* The realization that the education young adolescents experience during this formative period of life will, in large measure, determine the future for all citizens; and

* The knowledge that every young adolescent should have the opportunity to pursue his or her dreams and aspirations, and post-secondary education should be a possibility for all.

Groton-Dunstable Middle School will host is annual Parent Shadow Day on Oct. 19 to draw attention to the importance of this age group, Mr. Silverman, the middle school principal, announced.

"Our community has an impressive record of supporting education. It's essential, however, that all of us look at how we can develop even more support for this important age group. Helping young adolescents is an investment in our community," he said.

In celebration of Month for the Young Adolescent, parents are invited to attend Shadow Day on Oct. 18. Parents will be given the opportunity to attend classes with their child and then attend one of two assemblies.

This year's performances will include an edited version of the motion picture, "We Bought a Zoo." Elizabeth Maggie Jones, one of the actors from the film, will be making a special guest appearance at the school.