Here are snippets of people important to me: Ms. Cromatry, at my request, conferring with a wayward grad, encouraging but expecting more, and then moving on to deal with live goats coming to campus. Ms. Jones meeting with students who have missed weeks of school, cobbling together workable solutions with good humour and love, sealing cracks so no one falls through. Mr. Pike calmly admonishing a misbehaving student, discussing rehabilitative measures, helping them understand the cough syrup might taste bad now, but their health is better. The former two retiring, the latter moving to a different position in the school. Intuitively, we know and understand a school is not the facility, nor is it the equipment or the programs, but the people, the relationships, the feelings of belonging and togetherness, the learning, and the growth that define us. When key people move to other things, a school is renewed, remade.
This organic growth happens in all families and communities. Students know it well. Graduates cross the stage one day, and on another day, incoming grade 8s rambunctiously enter. Getting away from school, from this place, emotionally and mentally, is refreshing and cleansing. But as the last dog days of August ebb away, it might be time to reconsider your place in this living organism. Sure, the usual entreaties and goals of academic betterment, extracurriculars to join, are necessary and will be there. But what is it that you can interact with in this living thing called school?
More snippets: I listened to Honami and Jessica do their poetry analysis to Ms. Meneilly. During one lunch, I sat with Ava and her cool gang in the lobby. I laughed with Jack as he told his story about how he and Max recreated a Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris scene, including the shirtless part. A motley crew of after schoolers in my room watched the romantic coming and goings of people in the parking lot. Sylvia showed a bunch of us pictures of her canoe races. Michael awkwardly explained how he pulled the feet of the person in the next washroom stall, and both of us discovered the person was standing beside us as he told his tale. Each thing was not a big thing, but it was different for me, introducing a new perspective. For better or worse or who knows what, each person, in my eyes, was remaking school in their own way.
Traditions are often carried on, discarded, or reshaped. The past shouldn’t control us today. The relationships you form, carry, or part with all combine to create the fabric of our school. Every year is an opportunity to renew. Yes, there are times for that hell yeah, let’s do this wacky thing moment. But sometimes, you need to seek the current, and not the wave. We can plan to try this thing, stop that thing, or go to that game or event. That’s all good. But we can also plan to just be in the moment, and meet what the day brings. Sometimes, we don’t need to look for opportunities, we just need to open our eyes, and join the opportunities flowing by us. When we step from off our path, even a little, nothing much may happen, but, quite possibly, a new narrative takes us to a new place and the living organism evolves once again.
To start the inspiration, maybe it’s time to write a paragraph about people important to you and let them know. Their actions, words, and inspiration may poke and prod us in uncomfortably good ways. Ms. Jones, Ms. Cromarty, congratulations on your retirement, and Mr. Pike, all the best in your new position. Thanks for remaking the school all these years.