School’s Out for the Summer!

on Jun 01, 2012 in Blog by

Yesterday was the last day of school for my first grade son. He came home with a backpack full of journals filled with writing, unsharpened pencils, jackets I thought were gone forever, and a bag of candy from his teacher. His younger sister will go to Kindergarten in the fall and she is full of questions about school. She asked him what the best thing about first grade is. His reply made me both smile and frown as comments from older brothers to younger sisters often do. He said, “My teacher, of course. She is cool and nice. But she is going to a new school, so she won’t be your teacher.” My daughter looked a bit sad, but then he said, “You know school is a nice place to go. There’s recess and P.E. and music. And when you do have to learn stuff the teachers make it fun, so you don’t want to leave. Plus you get rewards if you are good. I can show you how to act good.” I am not sure what exactly that means, but I am choosing to be proud of it anyway.

As schools let out for summer vacation, I want to say thank you to all our wonderful teachers. It is because of your hard work and dedication that our children grow and prosper. When my son comes home smiling, eager for another day and ready to share that experience with his sister, I realize the deep debt I owe each of you.

The West Wind Kids’ Last Day of School:

Bonnie’s son who will be a Senior: “This summer’s gonna be awesome.”

Mandi’s son who will enter 2nd grade: “Summer is like recess all the time, right?”

Circe’s daughter who will be in 8th grade and son who will be in 10th grade.

Valerie reflected on the last day of school for her three sons who will be in 11th, 8th, and 5th grades: As I prepared for my day, I thought it would be interesting to write each of my boys a quick note to kick off their last day of school. In writing each of them, who are understandably at such different places in their academic achievement, their personal and emotional development, and simply in their roles and places within our family unit, I had to reflect on what I wanted each to know, each to think, and what might take each of them to their next stop, wherever that is, as they continue to grow and change.

To my eldest, I simply want him to know, “I got your back, son.” Come what may, I think he’ll make his mark in his own way and I can’t wait to see what he’ll do. To my middle, for whom we are just entering the turbulence of adolescence, it was to remember, “You aren’t quite as grown as you think you are…please help me to help you get there.” And to my youngest it was that I cherish just where he is…and as the youngest it’s all the more bittersweet since I can see some of the road that lies ahead.

Deanna reflected: On Wednesday, my oldest son, Ryan, graduated from the 5th grade (6th grade is middle school here in Austin, Texas). It was quite the big to do. First, there was the ceremony on Tuesday evening. All of the kids received a graduation booklet and got their pictures taken with the principal and their homeroom teacher. Then, on Wednesday afternoon, there was the award ceremony. Some of the kids received the Principal’s Award for receiving all 4s (equivalent to As) in their subjects and in behavior. Interesting that a large percentage of the students were female. There was also the President’s Award, complete with a letter of congratulations from President Barack Obama himself. These awards went to students who had achieved the Principal’s Award two and three years in a row (again, mostly females). After the award ceremony, the entire school (my youngest son, Brandon, included with his second grade class) lined the hallways to give high-fives to the fifth graders as they returned to their classrooms. After the ceremony, I realized that, while not his graduation, this was a special occasion for my youngest son as well. We are moving to Florida this summer, so it was the last day of school in Texas for Brandon too. As he hugged his teacher, she reminded him that he is a great student and a great kid. She also gave him her cell phone number to call if he felt lonely or needed a reminder that the fire drills are really not that scary. Later, at home, I wondered how the boys would remember this time in their lives and what the next year has in store for them. Will Brandon feel free or abandoned in a new school where he was not preceded by his older brother? Will being the new kid be easier for Ryan as he transitions from a Texas elementary school to a Florida middle school? How different will things be when the boys are together in one school again (which won’t happen until Ryan is a senior and Brandon is a freshman in high school). It all remains to be seen. Now if I can just stop my heart and mind from racing and enjoy the summer.

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