First Day of School

It crossed my mind the other day that I have had a “first day of school” consecutively since 1968.  My K-12 years at Shepherd Public Schools and Carsonville-Port Sanilac Schools 1968-1980, undergraduate studies at Central Michigan University 1981-1984, math/physics teacher at Unionville-Sebewaing Area Schools 1985-2004, and administrator at Saugatuck Public Schools 2005-present.

Back to school is an exciting and memorable time for students, parents and teachers.

Can you recall one of your Back-to-School experiences? No doubt it was a time of excitement, nervousness, and high hopes all rolled into one.

Every student of every generation  – past and present – has probably wrestled with the same roller-coaster of emotions swirling around inside of them when they walked into their “first official day” of school.

One of my own memories of a Back-to-School experience happened prior to my 8th grade year.

You see, I grew up in the farming community of Shepherd, Michigan, and because my dad had just accepted the position of principal at the Carsonville-Port Sanilac Middle School & High School on the eastside of the state, I was entering a new school.

Because I had only gone to school in Shepherd, the move to a new school ignited one of  the most anxious moments in my life.

I wasn’t familiar with my surroundings. I didn’t know any of the teachers. And more importantly, I didn’t know any other 8th graders!

I can hardly describe for you the anxiety I carried into my 8th grade orientation.

But amazingly, the butterflies in my stomach were soon to go away.

For some reason, a couple of 8th grade boys came up to me and actually introduced themselves and that made all the difference in the world – at least to my world!

And it was only a matter of hours before we were playing pick-up basketball and growing our friendships.

In fact, I’m still close friends with these men today.

I’ll always be grateful for them taking the initiative to come up and shake my hand.

So there you have it:

One of my most vivid Back-to-School memories from nearly four decades ago.

And yes, there’s a point to this story as we begin our new 2019-2020 school year, too.

Please take the initiative to reach out and welcome someone who is new or someone you simply haven’t seen in a while.

You’ll make their day.

And I’ll bet they’ll remember your “Back to School” kindness for a long, long time.

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