The weather has warmed up, flowers are blooming and my students are beginning to develop a serious case of “summer-itis.” Truth be told, their teacher is starting to display symptoms of it also.
We are down to the final two weeks of school, not that I’m counting or anything. Well, actually I am counting the days until the end of school. It’s part of the math program. As part of the calendar activity, the children count the days to special events, and well, let’s face it, what’s more special than school getting out for the summer?
The Northern Area Teacher appreciation banquet was held on May 3. Three teachers from St. Mary’s were recognized for milestone years of service. The teachers recognized were Diane Blocher for 10 years, myself for 20 years and Carol Henry for 30 years of service. The teachers, staff and volunteers at St. Mary’s were treated to a special appreciation luncheon on May 12 courtesy of the board of trustees. The food was delicious and enjoyed by all.
The students and teachers attended the National Day of Prayer on May 5. Due to inclement weather the service was held at St. John’s Church. Prayer leaders included Jim Buchy and news anchor John Seibel. May Crowning was May 6 after Mass.
The eighth-graders left on their class trip on May 10 to San Antonio, Texas. They raised money for the trip with a variety of funds raisers. One of the librarians told me that the sixth- and seventh-graders were already discussing possible destinations for their future class trips.
I expected the school to be as silent as a tomb last May 11. The fifth- and sixth-graders went to the Health Fair held at the county fairgrounds and the third- and fourth-graders went to the Garst Museum. I do believe that my classes filled in the “sound gap” quite nicely. (Excessive joy and talking are symptoms of “summer-itis,” especially when the teacher announces no more homework for the year.)
Mrs. Foster and the student council are busy planning and preparing for Field Day, which is on May 23. The eighth-graders’ graduation Mass and reception is May 24, and on the following day they will meet at school for one final fun field trip and the traditional “Clap Out.” Students and staff will line the upstairs hall and clap as the eighth-graders walk out of the school for the last time as the eighth-grade class.
And speaking of leaving we have two teachers who are retiring this year, Linda Harsh and Carol Henry. Linda has been our math tutor for many years. When asked how long she has been with us, she thought it was around 29 years. She has tutored students who struggle with math and has also helped with the fourth-grade math classes. Carol has taught kindergarten at St. Mary’s since 1990. She began her teaching career at St. James in Cincinnati and like many of us, interrupted her teaching career to be a stay-at-home mother. I first met Carol as the kindergarten teacher for my two youngest children. Later I joined the staff at St. Mary’s as the first-grade teacher. One of my first encounters with Carol as a colleague was when we were preparing our classrooms for the beginning of school.
Each year she had a theme for the beginning of the year, and that year it was monkeys. She had ordered monkey hats from Oriental Traders. They were the kind that you have to punch out and fold and insert the elastic. Wanting to make sure she had put the hats together correctly, and not having any small children available, she put one on. That was when I came into her room and realized that I had found a soulmate! There are many qualities that good teachers possess, but one of the most important is a sense of fun. I wish that we had a nickel for all the laughs Carol and I have shared over the past 14 years that we have worked together. Both of us would be very rich ladies. Come to think of it, we really are both very rich ladies. Carol has been more than a colleague, she’s been a sister to me. And she has made my job teaching first-grade reading a lot easier. She prepares them so well for first grade. We will miss both Carol and Linda, and wish them well. Of course, we expect to see them now and again. Nobody ever really leaves us for long.
So on behalf of the students and staff at St. Mary’s, I hope that you have a great summer and I look forward to writing you again next year.