Going back to school is an exciting September tradition that has been happening for countless decades, and is a great youthful experience and adventure that most of us will never forget, and that our rambunctious children from tinies to teens should always look forward to. In just a few more sleeps, the hallowed halls of learning in Ponoka town and county schools will be packed with boys and girls of all sizes and shapes full of energy after a great summer holiday.
Hopefully they will all be looking forward to ten busy months of meeting new teachers, making lots of friends, joining in on school sports and showing off their new outfits. Let’s hope that it won’t take too long for them to learn to sit down and be quiet for more than ten minutes at a time, as well as hitting the books, solving the three R’s and tackling all those other worldly classroom subjects. After the first few days of picking up school supplies and getting the kids prepped for the ‘school rush’, it will be much quieter and stress-free for the parents, who can maybe now relax just a little and enjoy the wonderful 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekly silence and solitude of home sweet home.
Of the utmost importance to all of us is the fact that all of these excited students (our future), along with their parents and teachers will be out and about in a hurry on their way to school, by walking, riding, or catching the good old yellow bus. Please slow down, drive carefully, and watch out for everyone, while always following the school zone rules and avoiding the very hefty fines for speeding in front of the schools or not stopping for flashing bus lights. In the meantime, here are a few favourite memories of our great adventures of school days.
● Some of us will remember when the new class lists were put up in the window of the local newspapers and everyone dashed down for a peak, followed by screams of joy, or sobs because they didn’t get the teachers or the classmates they had wished for.
● I took Home Economics from Mrs. Cline, mainly because there were lots of cooking hot girls in the class, but it didn’t do much good, because they used my cookies for pucks, and I still can’t cook 60 years later. Because of my size (short but sweet) and my constant chatter, I was always moved to the front of every class close to the eagle eye of the teacher. Remember your very first locker, which had a big pad-lock, and usually ended up full of smelly socks, shorts and running shoes along with pictures and souvenirs of your movie heroes and your wanna-be girl friends?
● Are the desks bigger now? We had wooden ones that had ink wells and a small drawer that we stuffed with books, a bulging pencil case, a bag of marbles, a chocolate bar and yesterday’s sandwich and an apple to impress the teacher.
● In the early grades, little boys and girls didn’t really get along, but then in junior high the dances in the gym began and the hormones started to kick in, usually resulting in holding hands, a crush a week, and maybe even a first date to an afternoon matinee at the local theatre, Dutch treat. If you had ‘wheels’ (four whitewalls) in high school you were a jock, but for most of us it was either walk, hitch a ride, or double her home on your bike.
● Many of you will recall that each day we had to pack lots of books, loose leafs, binders, and lunch back and forth to school in a sack, but now they have back-packs and lap-tops, dine in the cafeteria, or eat out. I guess the rows of bike racks in front of the school have now been replaced by parking lots full of cars, but I bet the students in science class still get to experiment with frogs and mix things together in beakers and hope they don’t blow up.
● Exams were always kind of scary. All bunched up together in the same room, writing all those answers on a time limit, and then having to wait an eternity for your report card and praying that you would get enough ‘passing marks’ to safely take it home. Bottom line, do your homework, try to be real nice to your older brothers and sisters so that they will give you a hand, and don’t ever be afraid to reach out for a little help from your friends.
● Math lost me completely in the 9th grade, but I was really good at English and wrote lots of essays or stories for others and to keep on the good side of the big guys. I always excelled at recess and selling or swapping my lunches, but some of my favourite subjects were cheer-squads, as well drama and glee-club because we got to get up on the stage and show-off to the rest of the kids.
I don’t really think that our fabulous and vitally important equal opportunity institution of learning has changed very much along the way, but as we all have or will find out along the way in our classroom endeavours, one will soon realize that if you work hard, give your best effort, and have a little fun in the process, the chances of succeeding will always be well within your reach. In the meantime, keep smiling, and have a great week, all of you..