Is School Different Than Four Decades Ago?
What is it about going back to school that gets kids excited or sends them in a tailspin of dread?
It’s been 37 years since I walked to the bus stop for my last, “first day of school” as a senior at Sparrows Point High, and I wondered as summer came to end this year if things have changed in nearly four decades.
Even though those days of anticipation have long passed me by, I still remember what it was like to prepare for the first day of school.
I don’t think Mom was all that thrilled about school shopping, but I sure liked getting those brand new school supplies.
When I was in elementary school, the thought of that new pack of crayons and composition book was something to celebrate.
In high school, it was the new pack of colored pencils and the new 3-ring denim binder that I looked forward to. Life wasn’t complete without the denim binder to draw, doodle or write your name on.
I guess what I liked most about that first day of school, especially in elementary school, was wearing the new outfit that Mom bought me each year for school. It may have been a wool dress, but by golly I wanted to wear my new dress on the first day of school whether the temperature and weather permitted it or not.
So curious, I recently asked kids of all ages in the area this question, "What is the best thing about going back to school?"
Kristopher Lurz, who is entering the third grade at Grange Elementary had this to say: “I can see all my friends and my new teacher – and best of all I think we should have more homework.”
As an afterthought Kristopher told his Poppy, “But not me,” referring to the more homework part of his answer.
The last year of elementary school is always an exciting one. Ivy Vollman, who will enter her final year as a fifth grader at Battle Grove Elementary had this to say: "The best thing about going back to school is learning new things, also meeting my new classmates."
When I asked Joe Lurz, a junior at Sparrows Point High he said: “The best part about going to school for me is seeing my friends that don’t live around the Village.”
Madison Pennepacker, 9, who will be going to fourth grade at Berkshire Elementary this year said: “The best thing about going back to school would be meeting new people and hopefully having fun. I love the new school clothes and cool supplies, but my favorite is getting to go back to gym.”
When the same question was asked of another fourth grader, Zach Downes, who is attending Battle Grove Elementary he replied: “I get to see all my friends.”
Ryan Golden, who is entering his senior year at Sparrows Point High, had this to say: “Being a senior knowing it is my last year, graduating and hanging out.”
I don’t think much has changed in the way kids feel about going back to school. It seems just about every child I asked had one thing in common with me all those years ago – they are happy to be going back to school to see friends.
I don’t know about you, but I can recall posing with a little excitement, along with a little anxiety, for that first day of school photo Mom took each school year.
I asked the kids I interviewed in this story to submit any past first day of school photos for the column. You will find those wonderful excited smiling faces in the photo section.