Listen; There is a hush in the house … our kids are back in school

A look back at school days gone by and those that are to come

By Mike Rainone for the News

The buzzer has sounded, and this week thousands of hopefully excited young boys and girls (our future generations) are headed back to the age old and traditional but now much more modern hallowed halls of learning where all of us have been lucky enough to experience and hang out during our growing up and rambunctious days. In what should always be the most important but also enjoyable 12 years of our young lives, the countless advantages and joys of school is not only for the learning, but also to meet new friends and teachers, to play sports, and to join in on such neat social activities as drama, music, cheer squad, sock hops, and all sorts of other action designed just for the grades 1 through 12 tot to teen crowd.

Every September those of us who are now parents or grandparents will fondly sit back and watch with excitement as our sibling’s dash out the door every morning on their way to school, pausing to occasionally pass on a few wise but well chosen words of advice as to how they should behave, and then looking way back to our grand slam of getting a good education. Like so many other little duffers heading for school for the first time I will never forget how shy and scared I was heading up that long sidewalk with my mother to the really big front door of the our now historical Ponoka Red Brick School. But in only a few days I couldn’t wait to jump on the big yellow school bus near our home on Riverside Drive, and then along with a lot of other wide-eyed little boys and girls we entered our new class-room with the big blackboard and lots of pictures, and settled into our new tiny wooden desks.

Those for all of us were and always will be the humble but exciting beginnings of each and every child’s never to be forgotten adventures in school, where with a little luck and a lot of tough love we were able to hit those long locker filled halls running all the way up to Grade 12. Along the way we were always in awe of our new-found learning tools, but would quickly learn from our usually soft-spoken but strict teachers that during class there must always be a proper time for chatter or silence, to put up our hands if we wanted to be recognized, but also that a great deal of daily effort will be required for listening and learning. Of course throughout our glorious school years we always looked forward to recess, weekends, and holidays, but somehow we just couldn’t wait for Monday mornings and another busy week of the three Rs and all the rest, as well as mom’s finest bag lunches, rooms full of new buddies to share stories, treats, and lots of giggles with, and maybe just a little homework to take home on most days.

As we advanced through grade school into the social stresses of junior and senior high school we soon found out at that point that the lessons would get a little tougher and our books a little heavier, but that our busy but open minds were constantly being filled with a whole lot of life’s vital knowledge and exciting challenges. Of course it was likely there that the hormones really began to roar for the first time for all school students, including lots of locker chatter, the Friday night ‘sock hops’ in the gym and a whole lot more action for boys and girls around the town and county. But somehow along the way we somehow managed to survive the social onslaught of countless double dates, going steady, crushes, and heartbreaks, but it was a real rush, although maybe just a little stressful for our parents? For those of us who were young and sassy in the “Bobby sox and Pony-tail era” so many years ago or our students who are now a part of the new generation now growing up in the ‘electronic age’ going back to school will still always mean new clothes and fancy footwear, all sorts of new books, school supplies, and classes, and so much more. As has always been the great tradition of our challenging but amazing Grade 1 to 12 school adventures in education, the grand finale and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow will be that gala high school graduation, as well as and the countless opportunities and new lifestyles that await everyone going into the future.

Our vital role in September

During the first weeks of Back to School and into the next 10 months or so there will be a whole lot of excited children, some with their parents, as they walk, run, or ride their bikes, skateboards, or what-ever back and forth to school or countless other community activities. It is vital for all of us who are out there driving in both town and county each and every day to put down our cell phones and other distractions, slow down, and pay special attention to everything that is going on in front of us.

As is always stressed very special care must always be taken at school and bus zones, where extremely strict speed limits are in effect. On that note let me remind you that the fines for speeding in school zones have been increased substantially from between $180 to over $300 as well as possible demerits and suspensions, and even more in construction zones and for distracted, careless and impaired driving, and all the rest. Let us all work together and do our vital part to make our communities a safe and family friendly place to live, get out and enjoy fall to the fullest, and have a bountiful harvest and a great week, all of you.

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