School actually begins for the boys next Thursday, the 20th. Yesterday though, we got to see the brand-spankin’ new high school that the younger boy will be attending. (The older boy, a Senior, will graduate from the same high school he’s been attending since Freshman year.)
We’ve been really excited to get into the doors of this new school ever since the school district distributed gorgeous, glossy architect’s renderings of the design almost a year ago; even on paper it was spectacular. The school has an ultra-modern, angular design, and the inside uses tons of natural light. There are courtyards and other open spaces all over the place. It’s amazing.
The school is actually not complete yet, even now. The common areas are just about done, and two wings are finished. This year, only Freshmen and Sophomores will be attending, and they’ll add a class each year for the next two years to fill it up. I think that’s an awesome situation for the kids who get to attend this year; I think it will make the school spirit run high and it seems like there’s the potential for some great bonding among the student body. Once you take out the possibility of being sold an elevator pass by a Senior, well, that’s a bunch of high school stress gone right there, for a Freshman!
Something else that has been totally wonderful about the process of getting into a new high school is that the younger boy, his classmates, and all of the students who will be there as Sophomores got to play a part in some of the decisions. Once the school name was decided upon, the student body got to vote on the school colors. Once the colors were chosen, they got to vote on the mascot. After that, they got to vote on the fight song, which brings me to yesterday.
Yesterday was the Student Orientation, Student “Dance”, and Parent Orientation. The younger boy had to be there at 4:00 for his orientation. They were given another copy of their fall schedule, they had a pep rally, and they got to walk around to find their locker and their classrooms. At 6:00 we (the parents) arrived for our orientation. We seated ourselves in the sparkly new gymnasium, which was really cool because there is a giant mural with the school mascot being created on the wall of the gym and, while we were there, the artist was actively working on it. It was awesome to watch. The principal (who used to be the principal at the older boy’s school and is a phenomenal and dynamic leader) went over a bunch of things, introduced some of his staff, and then we were treated to the newly formed marching band and flag corps, performing our new fight song. By that point I was teary-eyed with excitement. (You might recall that my visiting the older boy’s high school garners the same emotional reaction.) By the end of the 45-minute session, I could barely contain myself. The excellence that our son will have at his fingertips for the next four years, in teachers, support staff, facilities, technology, and school spirit, is something we will not take for granted: we are very, very lucky.
During our session in the gym, the “dance” was going on. I put that in quotes because it wasn’t really a dance. The kids were not contained to one area of the school, like the cafeteria. That is probably “old school”. There was a DJ who had his booth set up on the upper floor, looking out onto a wide open area where many students were congregating. But they were all over the place. They were outside in the courtyards, in the LMC, just hanging out. The music was super-loud and whether you were outside or inside, you could hear it. Looking around, I had to smile, because the scene was alot like the opening scene in “Grease 2”, during which everyone was singing and dancing around on the school grounds, happily heading into class.
And the clothing was way different. And the school was nicer. Shut up, you know what I mean here. It was the VIBE.
The best part of it all? Above all the shiny bells and whistles, I have a fourteen-year-old who is totally psyched about starting high school. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I hope the DJ is available next Thursday…
*By the way, I know there is at least one of you out there who has another favorite song from “Grease 2” and I thought I’d do a public service by saving you the trouble of having to go and search for it. Click here to see my most favorite part of the movie; coincidentally it’s also where I learned to climb a ladder in the sexiest way possible (at 2:15).