First day of school misses the mark

The editor recalls the thrill of her first day in school and wonders if the strike will crush that for this year's Kindergarten students.

Thousands of people in BC have been waiting for this day.

I am writing this on Tuesday morning. It’s still too early for school to begin – the first day of school – but as we know, school is not starting today. There will be no frantic breakfasts or running around the house looking for school supplies. No freshly cleaned shirts and jeans, no brand new runners and backpacks. No big smiles on the children’s faces as they meet up with their friends in the schoolyard for the first time since June.

We expect there will be a first day of school at some point between now and Christmas, but it won’t be today, and all of the anticipation and tradition of the first day back at school is reflected in the solid gray skies and the light drizzle that is falling from them on this Tuesday morning.

I remember my first day of school as a joyous occasion. I was four years old, six weeks short of going on five, and the youngest of three children. My older brothers had me super-hyped to attend that wonderful place where you met lots of people and learned something new every day. I probably drove my mother crazy by asking her if it was time to go, because we were the first to arrive. My teacher, Miss Johnson, gave me some books, a pencil and a box of brightly coloured sticks! The longest one equalled 10 of the shortest ones, and the others were various denominations.

I flipped through the books – I could read a little – and tucked them safely away in my desk. Then I played with my new brightly coloured “toys” until my new classmates started arriving. And then I remembered my mother was still here, but she had left by the time I finally looked for her.

It was an interesting and noisy day. I think there were about 28 of us in the class, one of whom bawled for the entire morning because she wanted to go home.

I imagine that, although class sizes and compositions are different from school to school, the first day is the same in spirit anywhere you go.

It is a shame that it isn’t happening today, and a failing grade for BC.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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