The Community that is School

athletics-running-track_BannersI spent the entire weekend at my son’s school attending two athletics carnivals, one Year/Grade 10 information session and a social gathering for Year/Grade 9 parents. It involved a lot of talking, a lot of listening, a lot of standing around and a lot of watching.

The athletics carnival is always a big day and because Boy Wonder is up the bush this year, this weekend is bigger than usual. All the students at the Year/Grade 9 campus come back for the athletics so it was a two-day event rather than the usual one day. The flip side to the time sink? We got to spend Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, starting with breakfast, with the boy. He’s grown again, he needs a haircut and he was a little bit stinky but his smile was broad when he saw us as was ours.

The athletics carnival is a combination of team work, getting involved and  straight-up celebration of some awesome athletes. My husband, who was an awesome athlete in days gone by, finds it a bit hard as neither son is brilliant at aths, but each year they do a solid long jump and add a few points to their team. Yesterday, we had the pleasure of borrowing our eldest son’s girlfriend and claiming her for the day as she won her division of high-jump and was lead runner in two relay teams who won their event. YAY!

As I wandered around, chatting with other parents, sharing our experiences of this different year with our kids away, I valued the sense of community our school fosters. Although I whine and moan every year that aths day is, ‘such a long day’, I have worked out ways of getting the most out of it;a lovely picnic lunch. Inviting one or two other families to set up their rugs next to ours. Taking in the art exhibition, visiting the support group stalls and learning what great community service activities are taking place as well as chatting to the teachers in an informal environment.

At the end of this Sunday in September each year, I am left feeling weary but happy and with a sense of the hope for our youth and their rising place in the world.  Equally as important, I’ve attended seven ‘aths days’ and only have three left to go. THREE! YES!   and then both boys will be done with school ;-)

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