The school bell is about to ring

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The start of school is just around the corner. It seems like just a couple weeks ago, we were attending spring awards programs and graduations.

When I started looking at calendars today, I realized, summer all but over for thousands of students in Person County.

Students at PECIL and Bethel Hill Charter school start classes next week. The students Roxboro Community School start just a few days later. And, in about three weeks, Person County public school students will be back in class.

I’m not sure when the fun of school started to leave my spirit, but the first day of school was always fun, no matter how much I wanted summer to linger.

In high school, the first day of classes typically meant football season had started and we were through with the hard days of August practices. At least one day a week, I knew we’d be playing games and, any athlete will tell you the games are much more fun than the practices.

But even more than the sports milestones that the start of school brought, was the chance to see friends and, sometimes, make new ones if a new kid showed up at school.

Most of my summer days were spent working on the farm, so there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to see the people I spent the other 10 months of the year with. They had their own part time jobs working in tobacco, or they hung out at the swimming pool or the golf course, so I didn’t see them. Strangely, not too many of them wanted to come hang out with me at the hog farm.

As a young child, school was always exciting because I knew I’d get a new lunch box. My mother once bought me a lunch box with pictures of trains on it. To this day, I don’t know why I was so proud of that thing. I’ve only ridden a train once and I was too young to remember it. But for some reason, those trains always seemed to be going somewhere and that stoked my sense of adventure. I went about three years before I got another lunch box because I like that one. Finally, the latch just gave up the ghost and we had to get another one. I turned my train lunch box into a crayon box and used it for a long time afterward.

As a parent, we looked forward to the start of school because we knew our children looked forward to it and they were excited about what they would be able to learn.

One year, in April, we attended Kindergarten orientation with our youngest daughter Pitt. She thought she would begin going to school the following week and she literally cried alligator tears when she learned she wouldn’t actually start kindergarten for four more months. “That’s so long, Dad,” she wailed.

I suspect the range of emotions about the start of school range from one extreme to the other just as it did for me and my children. But here’s hoping that, even if it’s not always fun, that the new school year will be a good one.

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