State College Friends School
Oh, what a beautiful morning it was! Well, actually our first day was gray and gloomy and frequently pouring, but it felt like a beautiful morning. How absolutely wonderful it was to have students streaming through the door again. I missed them, the rest of the staff missed them, and it felt like maybe even the building itself missed them. They have once again filled us up, and helped us to remember our purpose and the whole place feels like it’s breathing again.
Standing at the front door during the arrival time on the first day of school is something I look forward to all summer. It’s a fascinating half-hour. The kindergartners, such little people, are doing such a big thing, and their faces show it. They’re excited and scared and unsure of themselves. I am so tempted to pick them up and carry them to their classrooms, whispering to them along the way that this is really going to be OK, just in case they’re having some second thoughts. But, I’m encouraging independence around here, so I just welcome them, check to see if they remember where to go, and then watch them admiringly as they make their way to their classrooms on their own.
The eighth graders, on the other hand, stride through the door with great confidence, but also with an awareness that this is the last ‘first day’ they’ll spend at Friends School. They have mixed feelings, too. They love their top-of-the-heap position, but they know that this will be a year of last times for them. I encourage them in that awareness…the fact that things don’t last forever is still a fairly new discovery for some of them, and not a bad life lesson.
There were many hugs that first day. (In fact, I was even hugged by a few middle school boys who must have gotten carried away and probably spent the next hour thinking, “Oh no, what have I done?”) There were a few tears, too, but those came from the eyes of parents, not children. It was a big day for all of us, full of many emotions and high hopes. All in all, a delightful and inspiring way to start the year.
From all of us, thank you for sharing your decidedly wonderful children.
Beloved assistant head of school and child whisperer, Mary retired in 2015. She is missed every day at Friends School.