The school year got off to a rather unusual start. Before we even had our first full week of school we had not one, but two fog delays! Hmm, could this be a sign of things to come? This week we completed our first full five day week which contrary to what you might think was appreciated by the teachers. School seems to flow in a five day cycle, and many textbooks and programs are designed to fit into that cycle. Speaking of teachers, we are very happy to welcome Mrs. Robbie Foster to our school family. Mrs. Foster teaches in our intermediate and junior sections.
Before the school year began, on August 15, the staff traveled to Maria Stein and attended a religious in-service day presented by Fr. Earl Fernandez. His topic was “Faith to Move Mountains”, and having taught in Catholic education all my professional life, I can certainly attest to having seen some mountains moved. After his presentation, Father celebrated Mass for the holy day. In the afternoon the staff attended the VIRTUS training. VIRTUS is the latest training for teachers and others who work with children in the Church. The training deals with keeping our children safe from those who would abuse them. To continue this training program, the teachers are reading monthly bulletins and answering questions on line.
We had an open house on August 27, the day before classes began, so that the children and parents could come and meet the teachers and explore the school. I always appreciate this open house for my young students. That way, I know they will not lie awake the night before school worrying about such pressing issues as “Where is my locker, and how do I open it?” Trust me; these are big time worries when you’re six. That is not even mentioning the biggest worry of all “How mean is my new teacher?” I am sure it is a relief, at least for my students, to see that I really don’t sport horns and breathe fire.
This year we have a bumper crop of kindergarteners. Mrs. Henry has fourteen students this year. Every year incoming kindergarteners seem so small to me. Perhaps it is because I teach the “big kids”, first and second graders.
During the first week of school, you can count on practicing drills. In my class, we practiced fire drills, tornado drills, and safety drills. On Friday, August 31, the primary students were given a bus safety presentation by one of the bus drivers from the Greenville school system. We now know how to be safe getting on and around buses, in fires, and tornadoes!
Most of the preschool classes started on Sept. 4 and 5. I say most because the poor morning Butterfly class didn’t start until the following week due to the two hour fog delays that I mentioned earlier. I heard there were some pretty sad little butterflies.
Monday was fall picture day. The students were allowed to dress outside of the regular dress code. They looked very nice. I do have to ask whose idea was it to have picture day on Monday morning. Really? I am barely awake on most Monday mornings, and it wasn’t until I was ready to leave for school that I remembered it was picture day. I’m not sure, but I think I have accidently worn the same shirt three years in row for my picture! Either I need to update my wardrobe or develop a better rotation.
On Wednesday, the eighth graders and Ms. Kelly-Pressnall attended the Campbell Gard rope training. This training actually teaches cooperation and leadership skills. Through a series of tasks the students learn to work together to overcome and solve obstacles. This field trip has been an annual event for our eighth graders for over 15 years.
Now on a more serious note, this Tuesday was September 11. The school remembered the victims of the terrorist attacks. The students and staff gathered around the flag for a short prayer service. Before the service the flag was raised and then lowered to half mast. During the service we had a moment of silence for all those who died. We concluded the service by singing “God Bless America.” The entire service was very moving and I found myself tearing up even though it has been eleven years since the attack. I find it hard to believe that it has been eleven years. My students were not even born at the time. I explained the events to them. As part of the prayer service, we prayed for peace and understanding among all peoples. May God grant this prayer.
Kathy Ayette is a teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School. She can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.