by Nick D'Arienzo
Oct 07, 2009 | 86243 views | 0 0 comments | 5911 5911 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Okay, folks, it’s once again time for our TOP HIGH SCHOOL edition (a 16-page pullout at the center of our papers this week and featured here on our website), and so here at “BEST OF THE BEST,” we took an informal poll as to what some of our citizenry feel are their favorite things about school. Sure, summer’s already a thing of the past, but the school calendar’s only just begun to kick in in earnest, and as we hunker down for the long winter, there are some rather compelling reasons for all of us to be focusing so much attention on such an essential experience.

The Uniforms

Yes, yes, calm down, will you. Because some kids actually like the uniforms. They certainly put a bit of structure and class to the otherwise random frivolity that characterizes most young people’s summer wardrobe. At some schools, for example, your different-colored polo shirt really means something – it’s your class identity. At others, regardless of your age, it means that you’re a part of something bigger than all of you – something that stands for discipline and self-respect, something you will proudly honor. And if the uniform that you just happen to be most proud to wear is actually that of your school’s athletic team, well then you’re already halfway down the road to understanding all this, because athletes more than anyone understand the importance of respecting the uniform. Needless to say, no matter how long it’s been since you last put it on, your uniform instantly becomes a part of you again – and perhaps even more importantly, it’s how the world looks at you.

Your Classmates

Yeah, summer camps sure are fun, or maybe your parents’ country house was where you hung out, but when you’re in grade school, those three months sure are a long time to be separated from your bestest bestest friends in the world. To witness the exuberance with which kids return to school, especially when we get the kind of Indian summer we’ve enjoyed recently, it makes it clear that it’s not just about education here, it’s about finding kindred spirits, too. About digging in deep together for another year, and reinforcing the strong bonds that have helped you all get this far in your far-too-young-still lives.

Your Teammates

If you’re privileged enough to be a scholar-athlete, then this is really where it’s at for you. While you may have spent summer honing your skills elsewhere – maybe AAU, maybe even overseas – this is where you really shine, especially if you’ve already put in your dues. Either way, no matter how many months y’all were separated for, there’s something about re-uniting teammates that always seems to make time float just a little bit quicker this time of year.

Your Teachers

Okay look, nobody likes all their teachers, that’s a given. But the ones we do – isn’t that one of the cool things about being in school, too? I mean, don’t you often wonder what they did all summer? It’s not like they just stood there in their classrooms waiting for us to come back from camp, right? Yes, for the right teacher, if it turns out you actually missed them a little bit – well heck, that’s a pretty good sign then. Because if it’s someone you really admire, and it’s a subject you really feel like paying attention to, then you’re going to get that much more out of the class anyway, in terms of the dedication you bring to it, and the enthusiasm with which you soak it all in.

School Trips

There’s just nothing in the world quite like a school trip, is there? For bonding and team-building alone, it’s one of the most invaluable kinds of educational experiences around. But for getting students to think outside the box, and to understand that learning is a life-long pursuit that extends far beyond the boundaries of any classroom… priceless! Oh the places you’ll go, as Dr. Seuss so aptly put it – The Museum of Natural History, Boston, Washington DC, perhaps even Europe. Depending upon the school, count on a number of unforgettable excursions to spruce up your young one’s calendar this year.

That Girl/That Boy

Okay parents, you might not want to admit it, but this has to be one of the things foremost on the minds of your young ones upon their return to school, ex-pecially if they’re getting on a bit in years. “What’d he do all summer?” “Why didn’t she write me?” “Who’s that guy she’s walking down the hall with?” “Hey, I got my braces off, how come he didn’t notice?!” Yes, for kids stepping up to the table in these matters, a return to school means a return to studies of a different kind as well, with a proximity and an intensity that summer just can’t seem to measure up to. And now that we’re a few weeks in, some of the answers to some of these questions are beginning to sort themselves out, as well as bringing up a whole host of new ones.

Senior Year

We’re still a little bit removed from the nostalgia and farewell tour that senior year truly can be, which means the past couple of weeks have involved the exuberant indulgence in said status that any student worth his salt long covets. Yes, there are responsibilities – but oh those privileges! Maybe now you don’t have to wear the complete school uniform for a change. Or maybe you’re allowed off school grounds at lunchtime. Maybe now you’ve actually got a shot at being Student Council President or Editor of the newspaper. Or finally finally finally, the kind of playing time you’d been dreaming of these past two seasons. Be mindful, though, it’s an important time this is, and the world is counting you. Like, for some, those complicated college applications that seem to take an entire autumn to make sense of. And what about all these pesky kids who look up to you now – what the heck is that all about? Maybe someday you’ll understand.

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