“Hey, Mimi. You got any money?” She met me when I came in the cafeteria.
“Not in here … right this minute … besides, you can’t buy anything,” I told her.
She’s in the fifth grade, and they aren’t allowed to use the snack bar in the cafeteria; just grades 6-12 have that privilege.
“Oh, but we can this last week of school since we’ll be in sixth grade next year.”
She grinned from ear to ear. So here it was … she’s big stuff now; almost sixth grade, snack bar and all. I got her a dollar, and she hurried to the snack bar to spend my money.
In a few minutes, the bell rang, signaling lunch was over. (If you’re a kid, teacher or staff member you have to learn to eat quickly.) She came by my table and handed me an unopened bag of Doritos and a Gatorade with only one sip missing.
“Don’t eat my chips or drink my Gatorade,” she instructed.
I laughed and told my table of lunch buddies, “She didn’t want anything … just wanted to be able to go up there and make a purchase.”
Coach Vanover told us that today second grade was allowed to get off the rocks of the playground and venture onto the grass. Big stuff they are, going to be in third grade, and now they can get on the grass. But they didn’t stay long … came back to the rocks and began to play on the swings and slides.
Rites of passage … the changing of social status … the time that comes along and we make a transition from one stage to another. Big stuff we are …
Tuesday I watched kindergarten graduate. They counted by fives and tens, sang their ABC’s and each student told us one thing they learned this year – things like “how to raise baby chicks,” “coloring nicely in the lines,” “learning vowel sounds” and “how to read,” “knowing how to make bubbles and duck tails” – important lessons to allow their rite of passage to first grade.
Thursday evening eighth grade marched across the stage and shared a glimpse of their past nine years at Slidell … lost library books, overdue papers, basketball games won and lost, review sheets and tests, STAAR and sweat, friendships forged … moving on … headed to high school. Big stuff they are …
Friday, “Pomp and Circumstance” echoed in the halls of Slidell. Seniors completing this phase of their education took center stage. We heard well-spoken young men and women give speeches and share collective memories … future hopes and dreams.
A slide show revealed some of those photos only a mother and father can love, a few tears fell. Scholarships were awarded, certificates bestowed.
Seniors – big stuff headed out into the world, toward the snack bar, off the rocks and onto the grass. Good luck to the graduating class of 2014.
And thank you, Slidell faculty and staff for a wonderful and successful year!