We wrote a little thank you note to our school district today.
Then we hung it from our balcony.
If it seems extreme to hang an eight-foot sign from the front of your house on your last child’s last day of school, know this: We are that grateful.
We loved the field trips to bat caves and planetariums; the sock hops and snowshoes, back packs and book reports, Odyssey of the Mind and jump rope for heart, Franklin Fun runners and school crossing guards; science fairs and pioneer days; Donuts with Dad and Muffins with Mom, Days of Silence and Show and Tells; Orientations and Farewells.
We admired the educators — the football coaches who taught our sons to play so hard their muddy jerseys hung limp and rank, and their cleats dragged turf across the parking lot; the teachers who made a lifetime impact on our children by their patience, passion and proficiency; the directors who coaxed talent from our offspring we never knew they had, and the others who recognized and showcased gifts we suspected but hardly dared to see.
We saw you there in the classroom having lunch once a week with our daughter and her friends, when they weren’t even your own students; and you, teaching empathy along with academics in your fourth grade classroom; and you, leaving the heavy weight of enormous grief on the outside of your classroom and thereby teaching so much more than Calculus (though you taught that remarkably well) to the students seated there; and you scaring, inspiring and teaching all four of our high school students that history lives and its participants have an obligation to think, read, and debate.
To the sweet grade school music teacher whose concerts felt like holidays and the art teacher who worked with her to inspire the kind of cross-genre collaboration that makes the world a more beautiful and interesting place, a million thanks.
Thank you for the books you assigned and we all enjoyed — The Bridge to Terabithia, To Kill a Mockingbird, Tales of Despereaux, The Little Prince, The Fountainhead, Maniac McGee, Animal Farm, Captain Underpants.
Man, how we loved the Wax Museums, Multi-Cultural Nights, Talent Shows, and Track and Field Days; the Homecomings, Proms and Eighth Grade Farewells.
Thank you to the principals with your open doors and even more open hearts.
Thank you, Merci Beaucoup, and Muchas Gracias to the language teachers and the great big beautiful world they showcased.
Thank you to the volunteers — you’re just amazing and we’re thrilled to call so many of you friends.
Thank you, Appleton Area School District, from the feathered depths of our almost empty nests.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank You.
We’ve been just thrilled to know you.