Wednesday, August 15, marks the first day of classes for the 2012-2013 school year here in Joplin. As usual, I look forward to the beginning of the school year, even though it means a lot of changes around here at the Sticklen household.
Before I get too involved in the discussion about these changes, though, I want to share a little video that very accurately depicts the extreme joy I experience while back to school shopping with my kids.
Can any of you relate?
This year my oldest returns to the University of Chicago (yes, I’m just a tiny bit proud) for her second year of college. Aside from the fact that Chicago is an amazing city, the university’s campus is one of the most picturesque I’ve ever seen. I look forward to more visits this year; perhaps this will be the year I FINALLY master the city’s public transportation system. Or at least visit the Art Institute.
Both my sons face new experiences this year. The oldest begins his first year of high school, and while he is a little apprehensive about going to a new school, he is willing to put his fears aside in the interest of getting his hands on the new MacBook that the school provides each student. This tactic of enticing the students to attend high school by providing them their own laptop in the interest of advanced technology is pure genius, I tell you. My youngest son, on the other hand, is looking forward to his first year of middle school, even if it means his older sister will try and boss him around. She is, after all, an eighth grader. The prospect of a locker, daily art and P.E. classes, and advanced science rank high on his list of interests, almost surpassing the fact that he now will be allowed to attend school dances.
My youngest daughter, the eighth grader, has already exerted her dominance at the middle school by helping plan activities for the first day of school as well as various other Student Council events for the upcoming school year. The fact that the gym received a new floor over the summer also ranks high on her list of reasons to love school. Mr. Obert, her social studies teacher, will be pleased to know that she has selected her History Day project theme already and is planning on making the state competition this year (of course I just put this in here for brownie points. I’m not stupid, you know.) Did I mention she’s an eighth grader this year? Because I’m pretty sure she’ll be mad if I don’t make sure everyone is well aware of this fact.
Most importantly, though, this year marks the second year that Joplin schools will be functioning in their temporary post-tornado status. Just like last year, students, faculty, and staff will make the best of a temporary academic situation. However, unlike last year, we now have a clearer sense of direction for our schools. Construction is underway at the new school sites, and the projected school completion dates remain on schedule. Administrators continue to balance the demands of pursuing academic excellence for the district with the monumental task of building an unprecedented number of schools in the city. Things are bound to get stressful from time to time.
Fortunately, our school district has been gifted with good leadership. Dr. Huff, Dr. Besendorfer, and the entire administrative team continue to work tirelessly to ensure our children receive the highest level of education possible, in spite of the challenges posed by temporary learning facilities. And they do all this with a smile on their faces and a commitment to keep morale at its highest possible level. Truly we are blessed to have such wonderful, devoted educators working for our children’s future.
So, for a vast number of reasons – not the least of which being the opportunity to have a little more free time around here during the days – I am looking forward to the beginning of the school year. I hope all of you are, as well!
So, tell me, are you looking forward to the upcoming school year? Why or why not? Do your kids face new opportunities? Are they excited? Be sure and keep the conversation going by commenting below - I love hearing from you!