Empty walls mean student work is going home.
“Life’s a casting off,” says Linda Loman in “Death of a Salesman.” It’s a dark quote for a last-day-of-school blog post, but nowhere is that a more apt description than at a school on the last day of the year.
For the past several days the school has been clearing out. The walls, once colorful with student work, are shockingly naked. The hallways seem lonely without their violins and their skating bags and muddy boots and backpacks and sports equipment and books and sweatshirts waiting to be reclaimed by their forgetful owners. In the Lower School there’s a section of hallway that actually echoes, so empty is it.
The fifth grade bowling shirts were donated by the Deimel family.
Cubbies and lockers have been emptied of their pencils and texts and flyers that were supposed to go home months ago and those lost library books and that homework sheet the kids remember turning in but for which the teacher gave them a zero. The lockers, so carefully decorated just nine months ago, have been stripped of their wallpapers and their mirrors and their photos. The doors swing open like saloon doors in a town in the old west.
Fifth graders looking dressy for their advancement to Middle School.
Most of the Upper School was gone today, only a lucky few had exams today. The other two divisions came together to honor students and to say goodbye. The fifth-graders sang a song known as “Cups,” the recurring theme of which is “You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.” Of course most of them are just moving to a different wing next year, not to a different campus. Head of Lower School Sheila Chaps told them to remember to say “hi” in the hallways, the teachers who loved them in the Lower School will still love them when they’re in Middle School. Then they headed off to a bowling party, all in matching shirts.
In the Middle School, locker cleanout was built into the day, as was an extra long break spent on the back lawn before an assembly in which students were honored for various achievements from great work academically to being a
The great Middle School locker purge.
positive influence on the school and their fellow students. Tonight, the eighth-grade will host its class day, a time for the same thing, but dressed in nicer clothing and with a dinner and party afterward.
Amid all this casting off, though, there was still some learning going on. The first graders, who had been studying insects, watched praying mantises hatch from a pod a student brought in earlier in the week. They didn’t know what it was, but when dozens and dozens of tiny green insects started coming out, they quickly discovered that it needed to be outside. Students were dispatched to catch the hard to see creatures and place them
A praying mantis pod burst suddenly to life in the first grade.
outside, carefully, on flowers and bushes and anywhere else they thought would be a good place for a praying mantis to live and eat.
Tomorrow, it’s only seniors here, collecting honors in the morning, then receiving their cap and gown before rehearsing for Sunday’s commencement. They will also write a reflection on their senior project, which took them out of our halls for the last month.
There’s a unique type of joy that accompanies the last day of school. As excited as students are for the coming summer, there’s that nagging sadness of the goodbyes, the “let’s get togethers” that both know won’t happen and the thoughts that when school starts again, everyone will be a different person.
The school will also be different, not physically, but different because of the special talents and joys and relationships and personalities that go out the door today and are replaced with other special talents and joys and relationships and personalities in September.
So here’s a goodbye to the 2012-13 school year. And a fond anticipation to starting it all over again in September.
By Ron Bernas