Today is our final day of school. It will feature dressed-up, scrubbed clean Middle Schoolers participating in our closing ceremony. It’s a sweet day, because some very deserving children will be honored. As the 8th graders cross the stage, we’ll see the work of the four years come to fruition. But it’s also bittersweet, because kids growing up is always little bittersweet.
Some of these children I have known for all of their lives. One of the girls being honored today has gone from a quiet wide-eyed toddler who clung near her mother to a lovely, accomplished, confident young woman with a kind heart that radiates in her beautiful smile. She’s headed to our 9th grade, so I will still see her. But it is still hard to pass her on to another’s care. And she’s just one of the 59 eighth graders we send on today. I will miss them all.
Part of my job today is to read the name of all the students we send onward today. The smart parents will organize a betting pool, wondering when I will crack and cry as I read those names. It’s a safe bet that in this room of parents and family, I will cry. The kids have seen it before, so they’ll be unfazed. I’m long past apologizing for being the sort of woman whose emotions show on her face.
When the ceremony is complete, we’ll smile and give out hugs. My eighth graders will go on their way well-prepared and well-loved. My sixth and seventh graders will go home to grow tall over the summer. And we’ll all have some time to replenish our energy for the next year.
So it’s a happy day ahead and when it's over, summer vacation begins. That's extra happy!