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The first day: 2011-12

School Is In

Mayor Stephanie Miner and Commissioner of Education Ned Deuel, standing, with Superintendent Sharon Contreras and Porter School principal Amy Fazio-Evans, both kneeling, pose for a photo on the first day of the 2011-12 school year with Porter School students.

Mayor Stephanie Miner and Commissioner of Education Ned Deuel, standing, with Superintendent Sharon Contreras and Porter School principal Amy Fazio-Evans, both kneeling, pose for a photo on the first day of the 2011-12 school year with Porter School students. Photo by Herm Card.

— Among the young students, there is chatter, there is laughter, there is an occasional tear.

School is a curious world when you are 5, as it is still a curious world when you are 18. The years in between are a marvelous adventure for some, an arduous struggle for others, but on that first day, that first day of “real” school, everyone starts even.

Parents and students embark on a new adventure — teachers and staff and administrators renew theirs. It seems easier for parents who have other children in school, but still they linger to make sure it is OK to leave. Some linger longer than others — leaving your first child in school, in the care of others for the first time is not easy. For a five-year-old, watching your parents leave the room, leaving you in a strange place with strangers — new caretakers, new potential friends, makes for a nervous time.

I can still see my mother, 60 years ago, waving goodbye to me through the window of my kindergarten class with a wistful look on her face that I had never seen before, and don’t recall ever seeing again. Then she was gone and I was alone among 25 strangers and a teacher, to begin a school adventure that continues still.

On September 7 at Porter school, I saw similar looks on parents’ and grandparents’ faces as the adventure began for them and their children. The kids? They were busy, caught up in their new adventure, their new world. Times had indeed changed.

Herm Card is a former teacher with more than 32 years of classroom experience and 20 years as a professional development consultant. His column runs bi-weekly in The Eagle. Reach him at herm4444@gmail.com.

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