Special Celebrations

sorry it’s been awhile!  been very busy and ill…

This past week I have been choked up several times at the support that the various organizations in our small-ish town give other groups.  This is especially true, since I know that everyone is super-crazed with the end of school/season events.  Here are a couple examples, but I bet there are others I am unaware of.

A few weeks ago was the Senior honor night for girls’ soccer at the high school.  17 graduating seniors, between junior varsity and varsity.  On a cold night, there were many people in the stands from both the high school and the local rec/travel soccer program to applaud the girls as they marched on to the field with their parents.

Last Friday on a beautiful spring night was the Senior honor night for the boys’ HS lacrosse team. The area’s quickly-growing LAX program had all the current younger players storm the field before the game with their jerseys on, then the 2-3 graders scrimmaged at half-time.

The most-inspiring evening of the three was during the middle school choral concert.  The director there was retiring after 17 years in the school district, over 40 years expanse of teaching, with a few years off in the middle to raise her children.  The band director and HS choral director semi-hijacked the show from her, to amusement to all but the self-admitted control freak herself.  Instead of the concert opening with the sixth grade chorus, the Bear Voices from the HS sang a song.  This group is chosen by audition, acapella only.  Impressive voices.

Bear Voices came on mid-concert as well for fun “Happy Trails to You”. Each singer who had been trained by the director (not all were) saying a kind sentiment to her.

During the concert, the band director and HS choral director told us about her life.  Then the principal gave a speech–her had calculated that during her tenure at our school alone she had taught over 10,000 students!  Wow!

The combined choruses worked on a secret song with the band director that they performed.  Then the finale–Bare Voices came back on stage with all the middle-school choruses and a whole group of additional HS chorus performers who had sung with her.  The audience stood, and we all sang “Celebrate!” with much on-stage dancing.  She was overflowing with gratitude to all.

It was an honor to be there to celebrate with the school and the chorus.  And it’s so inspiring to see so many local groups sharing in the success of those who have moved up the ranks.  Who knows what the rest of the art shows-soccer banquets-band concerts–lacrosse tournaments will bring? Another reason to tear up?  C

Why Bother?

First weeks back to school are a juggling time, with all the outside activities starting, the missing school supplies, tryouts, and open houses.  Everyone I know is busy, just learning their new schedules.  We re-districted our school this summer, so there were many new faces at the elementary school open house this week.  Familiar faces, nervous lost faces, smiling faces, hopeful faces.  I had to go early, as one teacher does a presentation before the meeting starts.  A room of parents, some single, some coupled  with children in 3rd through fifth grade, there to listen to Mr. C.

Of the 20 or so parents in the room, several people stood at the counter that aligns each classroom.  I was stunned, and embarrassed as two dads stood at that counter the ENTIRE half-hour and played with their Blackberrys, texting, checked their emails, surfing internet Porn.  Who knows?  Right in my sight line, I could not stop glancing at them, just waiting, hoping that they would put their metal and plastic appendages away.  How incredibly rude!  Were they so important that they couldn’t listen to the teacher?  If they cared so little, why did they bother coming to the early presentation?  I  hoped that they would find a decorum of civility and put away their toys–but one even had his reading glasses on.

Why not sit and hide it in your lap, under a desk?  Why such a blatant lack of respect for the teacher?  And what a great lesson it would have been for their kids, if they had been present: I am more important than you or your teacher. You have to listen to the teacher, but I do not.  C

My First Day of School, or Too Many Mental Questions

My three kids and I all started school on Tuesday.  I now better remember their nervousness on the first day.  Can I find the classroom?  How crowded will the parking lot be (or how late will the bus be?) I am taking a for-credit digital photography class at College of Lake County, my local community college.  It’s been 20 years since I got my degree, and the thought of taking a college class was a bit intimidating.  What do people wear to school now?  Would I be 20 years older than all the other students?  Do I remember how to study for a test?  What if my photography is horrible and style is outdated? How will I have time for all this with family, kids’ activities, work, exercise, and volunteering?

I was relieved to walk into class and see several people who were older than me, a couple my age, and a smattering of students who fit the typical age college profile.  Our professor told us that there were 4 sections of this popular class, and they had to turn over 50 people away.  We signed many papers–boy, times have changed since college in the 80’s, and once we went over the syllabus I became more excited for this class. 

I am comfortable in the darkroom and can probably use my old (now broken) 35mm in my sleep, but I am still learning my digital SLR.  I  want to learn more about the digital medium and Photoshop, before I invest more money into freelance work and my burgeoning hobby. That is why I am taking this class. I am eager to start shooting pictures, but alas we have no class for two weeks. 

This will not be an easy class.  It will be a lot of work.  But I will better understand the stress, the uncertainty, the frustrations and the joy that can come with learning and the completion of a challenging assignment.  Let the photo shoots begin! C

Sayanora Summer

While there may technically be 25 days left in summer, for millions of American families the summer is technically, officially Over.  School starts today.  For us and many of my friends, it feels like summer really ends in early August, when schedules begin again, and we start prepping for school. 

Football practice–5 days a week for 8 year olds?– cut into any evening events, soccer camp, buying school supplies (including 3 packs of baby wipes and 22 boxes of Kleenex for the teachers), haircuts, shiny new shoes, Back to School Day, dental appointments or physicals, and even buying books for myself as I begin my first college class in 20 years all cut into the languid days of summer. 

I relish our free Sundays, which don’t fill up until this weekend with soccer and football games, fall ball and tennis for other friends, knowing that they end now.  We have made a conscious effort to enjoy our free time–swimming, biking, boating, and spending with friends–knowing that the Busy days start now.  Relax, while time is again speeding up, too soon, as the glorious days of summer beckon us from outside our windows. C