Sunday, May 31, 2009

Endings & Beginnings

This fall's kindergartners planting pumpkins at the Cannon River STEM School Open House.

If Will had been born ten days earlier in 1991, yesterday would have been his graduation day from Northfield High School. Instead, he has another year to wait, which is fine with me. Last night he played in the band at commencement, then rode his bike out to Dairy Queen with his parents before heading to a friend's house to finish a final project for French class. At Dairy Queen, we sat at a concrete picnic table at the foot of the small slope that he used to roll down when he was little.

"This hill used to be bigger," he said.

I had spent the morning down in Faribault, at the Cannon River STEM School open house. There were more than 200 people, parents and children, in attendance. For more than three years, the school has been an idea. Yesterday, with teachers and students and parents all together around the school building, it finally became a reality.

The kindergartners who start at CRSS in September will graduate from the school (after eighth grade) in 2018, and will be in the high school class of 2022. Strange to think that this fall's kindergartners are starting school exactly 40 years after I started kindergarten.

A little over a month before I started kindergarten, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to set foot on the moon. In 1969, human beings made a great step into their collective future, and I made one small step—across the threshold of Mrs. Adams' classroom—into mine. It's exciting to be launching a new school of science, technology, engineering and math in the anniversary year of such an event. It's exciting for me, 40 years after I started school, to look at the children starting kindergarten this fall, and to think of all the steps, great and small, being taken here. It's exciting to think of all the big hills that will become easy to climb. It's exciting to think of all the seeds being planted for the future.

Cross-posted here.


Shan said...

Aw, you trying to make me cry or something? I have a nearly-five-year-old (in 3 days!) starting kindergarten in the fall! (Though not at the Stem School....)

Jim H. said...


Here's to the kids and adults who will make the school a success. Hip hip...

New Poem: "Phrasebook"

My poem " Phrasebook " has been published online in Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters .