Our small school has always been of the K-6=Elementary, 7&8=Junior High, and 9-12=High School. I've always loved that about our school and one of the reasons I was so happy our kids get to go there. Why rush them into junior high, the age of boycraziness, school dances, and organized school sponsored sports? I liked the idea of keeping them elementary school naive and innocent that extra year. I especially liked that since as of the '10-'11 school year we had a 5th grader in our family. I was reveling in the fact that we had ONE MORE YEAR of elementary after 5th grade before she was thrown to the junior high joyousness. Or so I thought...
Last August, before school started we attended the Open House. The Open House is where the kids can bring in their supplies and meet their teachers before the school year starts. As we chatted with Dakota's teacher, I noticed a sign up sheet on the desk at the front of the room. I moved a little closer to get a look. Imagine my surprise when it was the "5th Grade Graduation Snack/Supply Sign Up Sheet". Umm, what the what?!? I rudely interrupted the teacher as I was sure there was some mistake, I mean why would they have a 5th grade graduation when they weren't really graduating to anything but another year of elementary? I figured this teacher was kinda new and hadn't gotten the memo that our school was a K-6 type. After all, I've been here for 16 years and GI Joe for 33 years and it's ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY. To clarify, GI Joe has not been a student at that school for 33 years just in the community. I was sure it was just an oversight on her part, so I called her out on it.
"Excuse me, I see there's a 5th grade graduation sign up sheet here. Why is there a graduation ceremony when they aren't really graduating to junior high until after 6th grade?"
Smiling nicely and knowingly at me, "Oh didn't you hear, that changed, as of last year 6th grade is junior high."
Eyes getting a little misty, "But that can't be! We still have TWO WHOLE YEARS OF DAKOTA BEING IN ELEMENTARY. She can't go to junior high yet!"
And then Security came and escorted me out of the building... blah, blah, blah. :)
I should clarify and tell you that our school is a very small town school. So much so that K-12 is all housed in the same building, yeah we're so URBAN like that. Graduating to junior high does not mean going to another building across town with kids you've never met, only then to go to an even bigger high school 3 years later with even more kids you don't know. Oh no, junior high for our school means that you move "upstairs" to the junior high/high school area...with the same kids you've been going to school with since preschool and kindergarten. But STILL!!!!
So on Friday, June 3rd, our baby, our firstborn, graduated from 5th grade and is now officially a junior higher. Which feels really weird considering I feel like I just graduated from junior high a few months ago but that could largely attributed to my activities over the weekend which included but were not limited to..GOING TO AN NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK CONCERT AND ACTING LIKE I WAS 13 AGAIN!!! (Oh trust me when I say that you will definitely be hearing more about that trip.)
How can this be? I'm in serious denial.
I mean, this picture was just taken YESTERDAY...
(Please excuse the amateurish photo of a photo, I got a fancy new printer/scanner which I did not use to scan this photo. Why? Because it didn't work when I clicked the button and I couldn't figure it out. And yes, there are directions to it but who has time to read such things when there are actual BOOKS waiting to be read? I'll just wait for GI Joe to figure it out and tell me how to do it. In the meantime, this is what you get. You get the point, she was a baby just yesterday and a very cute one at that.)
As you can see there's been a big mistake because she can't possibly be graduating 5th grade and going into JUNIOR HIGH!
But the school system is convinced that she is so we sucked it up and attended her 5th grade graduation. I vividly remember my 5th grade graduation, I wore a pink and white dress with the yoke ruffle at the waist (do you remember those awful things?) and my mall bangs were in rare form that day. I remember we had to hold up a sign of what we wanted to be when we grew up. Mine said Pediatrician. Obviously, that worked out well for me. It would've, had it not been for that darn Chemistry and Math stuff. I don't understand why boring Chemistry and Algebra are sooooo important for a doctor...whatevs.
Dakota's graduation was nothing like mine. There was no Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All" played (an injustice all it's own), no signs saying what they wanted to do when they grew up. You know what they did have though? AN HOUR AND 45 MINUTES OF recorder solos, awards for attendance, and 14 videos made by 5th graders with attempted comedic skits but were more like a remake of the Blair Witch Project, what with all the shaky, motion sickness inducing camera work, whispered voices, shrieking and all. The two highlights of the ceremony for us were a) when Dakota walked up to get her diploma. We were on the edge of our seats because we were sure she'd walk like a dragon or T-Rex to get it, not because she was being silly but because, umm...that's how she walks sometimes. But our fears were relieved when she walked up there like a NORMAL girl! A NORMAL GIRL!!! Happiest day ever. And she looked cute too because I had won the battle of whether or not she would wear a dress. Even though the conversation that morning went a little something like this...
"Why do I have to wear a dress?"
"Because it's GRADUATION DAY! You have to look nice!"
"It's dumb, it's not like we're wearing a cap and gown and we don't even get a REAL diploma..."
"You get a real diploma, it says you graduated from 5th grade and on to junior high."
"Oh yeah a lot of good that will do me. Not like I can get into college or anything.."
"Good point, but you're still wearing the dress and going to look pretty and please don't walk like a dragon or a t-rex when you're walking up to get your fake diploma."
And b) the little boy in front of us who kept randomly applauding at nothing. It was awesome. Here's an example..."In 5th grade we studied the continents and...(kid randomly applauding and screaming YAY).
We survived the ceremony and then it was time for the best part..the cookies and cake reception. Dakota was jubilant, I think mostly about the cookies and cake, girl has a major sweet tooth, and less about the whole diploma thing but either way it was fun. We took pictures of her with her favorite teacher and some of her friends.
This teacher has been a school staple for 30 some years, you know back in the good ol' days when elementary was K-6. She is loved by many, including Dakota.
Won't it be fun to see what these girls look like in 7 years at their high school graduation? Actually, no that won't be fun because that will mean SHE'S GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL. I can't stand the thought. Wander if we'll still have to tell her NOT to walk like a TRex to get her real diploma?
And just like that, we're parents of a junior higher. I'm not too worried about the first year of it though. We were telling Dakota that being in junior high means DANCES! Her response? "Ewwwww.....I think I'll be sick that night!" And that's what we like to hear.
Except that I was kinda looking forward to chaperoning the dances so I could show off my fantabulous "Hangin' Tough" dance moves. Yeah, I think junior high might not be so bad this time around, I have much better hair and Dakota has never even heard of mall bangs. But she HAS heard of New Kids on the Block, and let's be honest, that's really the important stuff you need to know for junior high, at least it was when I was in junior high. Now I just need to teach her the "Right Stuff" moves and it'll be smooth sailing from here.
Here goes nothin'!