June 10, 1983
Today is the last day of school. Every year has a last day of school. The last day of school isn’t so much about learning as it is saying good-bye and moving on. Mom taught me that on the last day of school it’s important to go up to each teacher and janitor and Principal and Lunch Lady and Secretary and School Nurse and say Thank You. Dad taught me to shake their hands, firmly…up and down three times.
Summer vacation starts tomorrow at the beach. After all the handshaking and Thank-yous are done, summer vacation can start on the beaches of Lake Michigan. Dad will drive us all tomorrow in the suburban. Even Grandpa will come. I can’t wait.
It’s a little different this year. I am changing schools. Today I am a sixth grader in Whitehills Elementary School. At summer’s end I will return to a new school, Hannah Middle School. I am not sure how I feel about that.
School has never been easy for me. I am finally used to Whitehills and now I have to leave. Many people, especially parents, think that you are either among the smart kids in school or you are not. I am neither. I am both. I am in between. Some things come easy to me. Reading and writing comes easy to me. Gym class comes easy. But other things come hard. Math, Science, and History are very hard for me.
Up until today I was unsure of the future. I really didn’t know if I would stay here at Whitehills Elementary next year and repeat the sixth grade or not. I liked it here but I had been afraid that my friends would move on and I would be left behind. I am not exactly an A student.
Had I repeated the 6th grade, Shelby and I would have been in the same class this Fall. Shelby is a year behind me and I want to keep it that way. Because of her stupid gymnastics lessons she can run faster than me and jump higher than me. Gym class just wouldn’t be much fun anymore with my little sister there.
I do want to stay with my friends. Friends are important. Today was a good day because I learned that I get to move on to Hannah Middle School. I was given a packet of papers to take home and study for the summer. The papers were in a big brown envelope. The envelope said, “Transition to Middle School”.
In the envelope was a letter from Hannah Principal Randolph Smith Jr. His first sentence said “Welcome to Hannah Middle School”. I guess the Principal of my new school wanted to make sure that we all know the new rules…parents and kids. Principal Smith reminded parents the most important rule as far as he was concerned: not to park near the front door because that’s for busses and Principals only.
Included in the envelope was a Student Code of Conduct. In Middle School you cannot:
1) Be in possession of tobacco products, alcohol, or drugs
2) Use profanity
3) Engage in fighting, bullying or intimidating behavior
4) Be in possession of a weapon or facsimile thereof
5) Engage in false fire alarms or bomb threats
6) Loiter in the hallway or on school premises
7) Be out of dress code
8) Have food or drinks in any area other than the cafeteria
9) Be in possession of a beeper
10) Chew gum in class
Principal Randolph Smith Jr. also announced the new East Lansing Public School Writing Initiative. Starting with the 1983 seventh grade class all middle schoolers will be expected to keep a writing journal. Every day we will be expected to make an entry.
I’ll try hard not to chew gum and carry weapons…but this writing journal thing will be easy.
Grandpa can keep his old diary.
I’ve got me a Writing Journal.