8 hours ago
Saturday, June 19, 2010
It's all over
As we met each class for the last time, the kids were compelled to leave messages on my blackboard. I have taken and saved pictures of each section of the board so that I have copies of everything they wanted to say to me and to anyone who reads this. They are all messages of love, for me, for one another, and for the school we sadly leave behind.
The last days were full of tears. The students are scattering to a large number of different schools, and they know that, no matter how much they work to stay in touch, things will never be the same for them.
The teachers now know where they will be teaching next year, at least those of us lucky enough to have a job know. I will be going to an all-girls school, which is definitely deja vu for me. I loved my own all-girls high school 40+ years ago, so I am hopeful that my new school will be a good experience for me. It is, in fact, the school my mother and my lifetime friend Susie attended, so there is something special about going there. Several people I am close to are also going there, as are a number of our girls, so I will not be "alone" when I get there in September.
They seem to keep taking the same picture of me!
This was taken as we prepared to sing the Alma Mater for the last time at school. There was a closing ceremony for the Juniors on the last day, then everyone assembled in the courtyard, the juniors were officially invited to join the Alumni Association as the Class of 2011, and then we struggled to sing the school song. By the time we finished, I was in a group hug with about 10 students, all clinging to me and one another; as I looked around the courtyard, similar scenes were everywhere.
The day mimicked a funeral. We had the "services" indoors, the final farewell outside, then the faculty went to a lovely luncheon, generously provided by the Parents' Association. There was talk of going out after the luncheon, but most of us needed to go home and have some quiet, private time to finally grieve alone.
This time since October has truly been the worst year of my life. To go through the death of our beloved school has been traumatic for our students, the faculty and the alumni. It has been inspiring also, though- such grief could only occur when something truly special was lost. Our school achieved great things in its time and will be remembered as long as anyone associated with it still lives.
WE HAIL CARDINAL DOUGHERTY HIGH!