Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Movin' on up (last day of school)

We now have a third grader and a ninth grader in the house. Today was the last day of school for both Kieran and Chris. I do NOT feel sad to leave middle school behind, even though Chris is very sad about it. His middle school experience turned out just fine--he had great experiences getting involved in drama (and was in all five plays they did during his three years in middle school) and participating in band and choir. He had some great teachers, and some not so great. (Fortunately, none of the not-so-great are at the school any longer.)

The one thing I was sad about today is the fact that Kieran will no longer have our beloved Mrs. Schaeffer for our teacher. We were very lucky to get her for two years (she also taught Chris) and she had expected to retire by the time Kieran reached second grade, so the fact that she is still teaching was an unexpected blessing for us. He had a fantastic second grade experience.

Outside after school (with his favorite wrestling partner)

Second grade buddies
 
These girls are just so sweet!!

Kieran with our beloved Mrs. Schaeffer
Tonight Chris had 8th grade promotion at Wilson High School. It began with the interim principal giving a speech, followed by several other speeches and awards. I must say that this is a class of all stars...tons of kids received awards for academic excellence. This is on top of the awards ceremony we attended at the school last week, where it seemed that half of the school received awards for being on honor roll, having a 4.0, or for doing community service. (Chris received an award for being on honor roll for the first three quarters.)



Chris receiving his certificate of promotion
The former principal, Larry Dashiell, gave a very inspiring speech about his own personal journey in high school and college--sharing with the kids about how he had several obstacles put in his way and how his mom gave him her food stamps for him to eat when he went off to college. I'm not sure how much of it sank in for our middle-class kids, but I found it to be moving that he shared so much about his own personal journey.

After the ceremony we went off to Marco's for dessert (like many other families). As we left the restaurant, Chris got very sad about school ending and not seeing his friends any more.

We have decided to send him to a private high school designed for kids with ADD/ADHD and dyslexia (he has ADD). Although he has done great in public school (especially in 8th grade), Wilson High School is very big, and it's going to have enormous class sizes. Even though it will be a big financial sacrifice for us, we are really excited about the opportunities he will have in a small school. The average class size is eight students, and the school feels like a real community. Chris is not happy about going there, though, and as we expected, tonight it sank in that he wouldn't be seeing all those kids in one place again. (Other kids are going to different high schools, as well.) Chris has never liked transitions much (I remember him getting sad as a little tyke when we had our roof replaced!), so this was expected.

We've told him that he can always go to Wilson if he doesn't like the private one. It's very difficult to get into, so this is his only opportunity. I am confident that he will love it once he settles in. But this summer I expect we'll get some push back off and on! The most appealing thing for me about this new school is that every teacher is fantastic, and the kids are all hand picked for their attitudes, desire to learn, and promise. He'll also have the opportunity to participate in drama and music at the high-caliber adjacent Catholic high school (which has a reciprocal relationship). That is one thing that does excite him.

Now it's off to various summer camps and activities...and did you hear us, SUN? It's time to come out and stay for awhile in Oregon. We need you!!! It's time!

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