Thursday, June 12, 2014

The End of an Era

"It's the end of an era," I say dramatically, holding the back of my hand to my forehead. The 6th graders chuckle, and after a final prayer of blessing, they rush out of the room down to the gym, yearbooks firmly clutched in their hands. The 8th graders emerge from their final exams more slowly. Some are high giving their classmates; others silently lay their heads on a friend's shoulder, the grief of the upcoming good-byes too much for words right now. The gym and courtyard are both abuzz with activity, from a game of Knock Out to the colored pens flying across the table for yearbook signatures, everyone is outside. Everyone is looking for closure on this, our last day of school.

I may have been joking about the end of the an era, but the end of every year at BFA sort of feels that way. As I watch the camaraderie and the hugs upon hugs, I remember the good times - the Annie Jr. play, the fun debates in class when EL finally found her voice, the success in Paris and Rome with the History team, DF's baptism just one month ago. Not that there were no struggles along the way either. Having to play peacekeeper between two feuding students, trying to get a new addition up to speed in the social studies when he didn't even want to be here, and walking through the receiving of bad news with friends are never easy tasks. But looking at the 8th graders today warms a little fuzzy spot in my heart.

IK isn't the same person he was three years ago. He even smiles at me when I hand him his popsicle. HG approaches her studies with a much cooler head. KP has grown into his own skin, and HK is still a quirky character but with a maturity that would have been hard to imagine 20 months ago. They change so much, and I mourn the loss of them as my students when things are just getting to be so good (as every year). This is the day when I have to face the fact that my time with them really is at an end. They will move on to high school, and it's good. It's time. But they definitely take a piece of my heart with them.