In thinking about this new school year, I am reminded about how interconnected beginnings and endings really are. It seemed a short time ago we were preparing for the eighth grade move-up ceremony as well as beginning new traditions and transitions for our sixth and seventh graders. Thanks to our wonderful guidance team, the end of last year was unlike any other. Seventh graders met with all of the eighth grade academic departments for an orientation about the eighth grade courses of study. We were fortunate to have several guest speakers whose inspirational talks helped seventh graders to begin to explore career possibilities. And since one of our goals is to cultivate leadership and community service in all students, seventh graders heard about opportunities for volunteerism offered through the guidance department, peer leadership, and the community-at-large. In many ways our activities set the stage for the opening of a new school year.
Another outcome of our planning was how the activities drew us closer together as a school community. Sixth and seventh graders lined up along the front lawn to cheer on the eighth grade class walking to the Paper Mill Playhouse for an elegant closing ceremony. Sixth and seventh graders later had the opportunity to see videotaped portions of the clap-down and the ceremony; they also viewed the eighth grade slideshow. Since our younger classes cannot be physically present for the closing ceremony, this was a way to include them and to show them how they, too, in a relatively short period of time will be celebrated as they move on to the High School. The finale was having our teachers line up on both sides of the main hallway to say good-bye and cheer on the students who participated in the plans of those last days of school.
The beginning of a new school year offers excitement, challenge, anxiety, and hope. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated teaching staff. We are grateful to have the support of our P.T.O and our parents as we navigate a new beginning. I know you will work together with all of us – administration guidance, teachers – to create opportunities for our children to stretch and grow in every way. I look forward to working with you as we continue to cultivate a school community that is inclusive, creative, and connected.