As the eighth graders were walking out of the gym this morning, I thought to myself, “This is such a tall class!” If I step back and look at them, I realize that they already look like high school students. Friday will be the last day of elementary school for the class of 2018. They are 32 strong, and they are a remarkable group. Their academic achievements are well known, but that’s not the best part of who they are.
A lot of people - even a lot of teachers - don’t want to be around middle school students, especially eighth graders. This seems crazy to me, but it’s true. A lot of people think that eighth graders are rude and self-absorbed. I think if eighth graders are that way it’s because the adults in their lives sold them short. We don’t do that here at Lourdes. You and your children’s teachers have done the extra work it takes to let these children be children. By expecting them to be respectful and by insisting that they serve as role models to the younger children, we have kept the “high school mentality” at bay. Many people think that we have to “get them ready for the real world” or “teach them what it’s like to be in high school”. Those ideas often translate into less direction, less support, too much freedom, and children who don’t think they have to listen anymore.
I am quite sure that when they get to high school these boys and girls will learn what it’s like there, and when they face the “real world” it will be soon enough - maybe too soon. I have always thought that it’s a gift we give - letting them just be kids until they leave us. That’s what they are - just kids. Today we had our second etiquette luncheon. I assure you that they are not ready for a State Dinner, but they might be able to figure out how to hold a glass and a napkin, and take an appetizer at the same time. They practiced cutting meat - they need more practice in that area. They learned to bring food in on the right and take it out on the left, and they learned not to pour water into a glass over someone’s head. Probably none of them will ever wait on tables, but they might have a better appreciation for how it’s done. The mistakes made today were children’s mistakes, and they were easily dealt with, because no one knew all the rules of table setting, eating, cutting, clearing and pouring. This is the way to prepare for the next steps - to be treated like children, taught new things, have a chance to correct silly mistakes, and not be embarrassed by eye-rolling or harsh criticism.
My mother was insistent that I was not allowed to brag, and I know she won’t like it right now that I am bragging. We - parents and teachers together - have done a great job allowing these eighth graders to go from wide-eyed three year olds with runny noses to confident young people who have incredibly soft hearts and brilliant minds. We have taught them to see the dignity in every human face, and they understand the power of prayer. They say “Yes, Ma`am” and “Yes, Sir”, and they stand up when an adult walks in the room. They aren’t perfect, because we aren’t perfect. If we stop to think about it, we probably have lots more that we want to teach them between now and Friday. But, time’s up. They are on their way whether we want them to go or not. Now we must trust that they will continue to hear our voices in their heads, and we trust that they will come to us when they need help, just like they did when they were three, and six and ten. We promise to answer when they call, and pray - a lot!
“Goodbyes are one of the hardest things about life. One way or another people were always leaving... Always moving on.” Kingsbury
Dates to Remember;
May 31 Second and Third grade to Adventure Theater
Middle School Choir Party, 11:30am
June 1 Last day of classes for eighth grade
Eighth grade prayer service 9:00am in the, gym. Parents are invited.
4 Eighth grade graduation practice and pictures, 8:45am - 12:00pm
Eighth grade Award Ceremony, 1:00pm
Lost and Found items on display in cafeteria
5 Eighth grade Graduation Mass, 7:00pm, followed by reception in the gym
Lost and Found items on display in cafeteria
7 Elementary Choir Party, 3:15pm
8 Little Group and PreK end of year program, 9:30am
Last day for Little Group and PreK
Cardboard Challenge K - 7
11 Cardboard Challenge
Half day, dismissal at 12:10pm,
12 Cardboard Challenge on display, 9 - 11:30 Parents invited!
Half day, dismissal at 12:10
13 Awards Assembly, 11:00am
Dismissal at 12:10pm
Faculty Luncheon, 1:00pm
14 & 15 TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DAYS
Mrs. McGann, Principal
OLOL Wednesday Words by Patricia McGann is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.