Judy Spooner Viewpoint: New school year rife with anxiety, reliefA Park High School girl told me last week that starting high school as a freshman is both scary and exciting at the same time.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
A Park High School girl told me last week that starting high school as a freshman is both scary and exciting at the same time. I remember feeling the same way on my first day in a very large St. Paul high school. I also felt that way whenever I took a new job or when I went to college.
I met this student during a day set aside by the school to make ninth-graders feel less anxious about coming to a new school. Seniors, and some juniors, volunteer to be leaders and mentors to the underclassmen. They must be recommended for the program by teachers and attend Link Crew training to look after their charges on orientation day and on into their first year at Park.
On Link Crew day, students are assigned to leaders, who are encouraged to do team building by giving the freshmen special hats, or articles of clothing to wear when they break into small groups to talk about which days pizza is offered in the cafeteria and while they tour the building. Each year, leaders get braver.
This year, there was a group of elves, all wearing pointy hats. Another group was given birthday hats and noise makers, the kind that unwind when you blow into them. In retrospect, maybe the noise makers were not a great idea, but you could tell which hallway they were in. Another group wore black handlebar mustaches but they were topped by a group of pirates and another group wearing fish hats, not hats people wear while fishing but hats made from pictures of fish. I couldn’t help laughing. I thought I’d seen everything when I saw a group wearing plastic capes and crowns made by putting aluminum foil over cardboard.
If students are a bit nervous about going back to school, many parents are relieved.
If you’re a stay-at-home parent, you can sit in your kitchen with no media running and enjoy some peace and quiet. There won’t be any shoes at the back door for at least five hours.
You can reclaim your car if you have a teen who learned to drive this summer and redo the presets on your car radio. If you want to listen to ’70s disco music, you can do so without a teen telling you, “That’s so lame,” and giving you the teenage eye roll.
Research shows that you spend about $20 less at the grocery store if you go without your children. You can also take your time with coupons.
Go ahead and stop at the Dairy Queen for a treat. No children present guarantees no one will remind you about the diet you promised to stick to.
For working parents, the phone calls at the office will stop. I know you tell them not to call unless it’s an emergency. But many situations seem like emergencies to children, such as older siblings toppling your Legos or younger ones threatening to spray your favorite perfume all over the dog.
Sound familiar? Been there.
To the parents, I hope you had a peaceful first week of school.