“No more pencils, No more books ...”
As our students work diligently to complete the last remaining projects, research papers, and tests, the excitement for the end of the school year is palpable. Alice Cooper’s 1972 ode to summer celebrates the excitement and anticipation for new adventures. As parents, students, and teachers alike count down to the end of the school year, we also turn our attention to preparations for enrolling students in a new grade or a new school. This Saturday, Upper School students who have enrolled at KO for September 2016 will arrive on campus for New Student Orientation. For these scholars, it will mark another new beginning, and for their parents, excitement with a possible twinge of nostalgia as they watch their children prepare to embark on a new journey.
Although I am an administrator, I am also the parent of two. In the fall, I look forward to my son, Karlton, entering Form 4 at KO. My daughter, Kayla, is graduating from Greensboro Day School (GDS) in North Carolina, and this spring we have visited several college campuses as she made the final decision of where she would enroll. I particularly enjoyed the visits because I observed the presentations solely as her mother, with no concerns for my typical role of coordinating the logistics of the event or making sure the program participants showed up on time.
On a recent Sunday, we made the first stop on our admitted students tour. During the drive, we reminisced about her time at GDS. We laughed about the warnings from Kayla and Karlton that I should remain in the car during the morning drop off. “Don’t embarrass us!” they would say. Kayla laughed as she talked about making friends in the middle school as a new student, and how it will be strange to be in a learning environment away from her classmates and friends with whom she has spent the past seven years of her life. As we entered the opening assembly, we walked into the arena side by side. In my mind’s eye, I was transported back in time her first day of kindergarten, where the two of us walked in similar formation...only she was much smaller! Excitement, fear, and expectation propelled my legs forward as we walked into her classroom on that very first day of school. Similar feelings invaded my mind as we made our way in to explore the campus, the courses, and student life.
That same week, we found ourselves on the second campus stop. Once again, the day started with its own energy and excitement. Welcome signs announced the day, and student ambassadors were there to greet us. No question was too great or too small. As we sat in opening assembly waiting for the program to start, a trio played Mozart in the background. After a presentation by the provost, the students were invited to observe classes while the parents were told to remain seated for the next session. The excitement was evident as they prepared to visit the campus unaccompanied by their parents. Kayla and I were seated in the middle of an aisle, and like the other students, she moved quickly to begin her day as a “college” student. When she reached the end of the aisle she paused, and turned with a quick wave and “bye Mom.”
In that moment, with that wave, I was transported back in time to when she was a little girl, skipping off to kindergarten. And just as she was ready, then, to begin her educational journey, l knew she was ready for her next one, as well.
Many of you are have also visited or will visit college campuses as your sons and daughters prepare for new beginnings. You may also recall your first visit to the Kingswood Oxford campus, and the excitement of your own children as they prepared to enter a new grade.
As we celebrate completions and prepare for new beginnings, anticipation is upon us. The arrival of summer will certainly lead to shouts of “No More Pencils, No More Books!,” but the fall will lead to yet anothernew beginning, with new memories to be made. As your child enters the next grade and you head to the carpool line or to move-in day, I hope that you too receive a quick turn, wave, and goodbye to signal that your child is ready for whatever lies ahead.