Thursday, August 18, 2011

First Grade Motorcade

Well, it has come and gone. The day was here, and now it's gone. The excitement, the anticipation, the planning...all for a great, smooth, seamless event.

No, I'm not talking about President Obama's visit to our area yesterday (which you can read about here, in great detail thanks to my fancy friend, Holly, who had the supreme honor of attending a town hall meeting with Obama.)! I'm talking about Anna's first day of school! Duh.

While we didn't require as much security as Obama's visit required, there was quite a bit of preparation, a lot of planning, and some fanfare in the past 12 hours. She packed her bag with the school supplies carefully chosen on a special shopping trip (sans the Prang watercolors, which we cannot find!). She set her alarm, laid out her clothes, and discussed the procedures that would take place in the morning. Just like the Wyffels family in Atkinson, IL, where Obama made a stop, we prepared ourselves for everything. We had a last minute bus time check from my aunt last night. We had a dry-run with our district open house yesterday, where the classrooms were found, questions were answered, bags were unpacked, paperwork gathered, and even a little bit of campaigning occurred (don't get too excited...but I'm running for secretary of the Farmington PTO.). Anyway, like any big event, a lot of care was taken in getting our little girl ready for the big day.

Then came the First Grade Motorcade. Between our car, my cousin's truck, aunt's SUV, and the actual bus, Anna had quite the group of cars taking off from the same point this morning. So exciting. The traffic on the road was blocked momentarily while the stop sign on the arm of the bus allowed for our precious cargo to load up. And then, just like that, she was off. Off for another big year at the "big" school.

Okay, enough with the Obama comparisons (my conservative, Republican husband is HORRIFIED and now thankful). While it is a big deal to send off any kid to school, I have to laugh at the reactions of some of the folks around where we live. We live very close to two districts, but, thanks to the lack of a logical consolidation years and years ago (my grandmother is still rolling her eyes about this one from beyond the grave), our kids go to the "bigger" district. This "big" school is geographically large, spanning three counties and five towns, but in the grand scheme of schools, is it really that big? I had a very nice woman ask me the other day how I felt sending Anna to such a "big school." I nearly laughed. Where am I sending her? Chicago? New York? No...just a school with five sections of first grade.

But this size is not the norm around the countryside. One or two sections of about 20 kids is considered a good size class in some districts. And while small class sizes and accountability of teachers (i.e., sitting next to them in church) is desirable, isn't it okay to be a small fish in a big pond? In my little world, small town America, where people know who's coming and going at all times, isn't it okay for Anna to not know and/or be related to everyone in her class? Shouldn't I be happy with the opportunities that come with a bigger district? In my small town, country world, it is nice to have something considered "big," other than a planter or a combine!

We might not have been big enough to be a stop on the Presidental motorcade, but our little first grader will have a taste of something bigger as she presses on in her schooling. And for that, I am proud.

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