I’m amazed at all of our new high schools with students from everywhere, names we can’t spell or pronounce mixed in with names we’ve heard for 50 years, numbers we can hardly believe, and the age-old excitement of a new crop of students who are out to change the world.
It seems like yesterday when our oldest daughter graduated. It was déjà vu all over again for me. I had loved school, and as our girls graduated (three in a row, 1973, ’74, and ’75), it took me on a walk down memory lane to 1951.
Things have changed in many ways since then. There was no public kindergarten, and certainly no pre-kindergarten, and therefore no graduation from such. There were ceremonies at elementary schools to celebrate the transition to high school, a tradition that was strong even in Cherokee County until middle schools were established.
Nowadays even little ones can experience the excitement of graduation. Our twin great-granddaughters, Morgan Millie and Taylor, who will enter public kindergarten in August, graduated recently from pre-K. Attending the event wasn’t a new experience for any of us.
The twins’ big sister, Regan, had been a participant last year, and it should have been ho-hum. But by now, we’ve learned there are always surprises, and with twins, the surprises come in multiples.
The children at Bascomb United Methodist Pre-School (lovingly referred to as BUMP) are quite proficient in the use of microphones.
I recalled those decades in my own life when I was very sure that I would faint if I had to speak in front of an audience via a microphone, or worse yet, I would just die.
These children had no qualms of any kind. They are pros. They seemed to have a perfect working relationship with this dreaded piece of equipment.
Big Sister Regan had no problem at all last year, and we were confident the twins would do just as well. As the program progressed, the children, one-at-a-time, came to the mic and sang, solo, cute, short little songs.
Someone in the family “fan club” had mentioned that the twins would be singing together, a duet, doing something together besides fighting. At their turn, they strode up to the two mics and, a cappella, sang every word of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Wow.
I was very thankful that my hearing aids seemed to be on the best setting. I was so proud. One other surprise brought a chuckle when the students were sharing their choices of careers.
Millie announced that she wants to be a babysitter when she grows up. Bless her heart, if she only knew. She’s in for a reality check in the next few days as her baby brother joins the household. She may become a babysitter way before she grows up.
We’ve had descendants as students in the Cherokee County School system for 36 of the 48 years we’ve lived here.
This new crop of great-grands will extend that for 18 more years at least, assuming they stay in Cherokee County…and why would they want to leave?
I hope all of them will be lifetime learners, understanding that the possession of a piece of paper is not confirmation of an education. All those years in school do not an education make although it enhances and enables us throughout our lives.
We learn and are educated daily by our surroundings, what we see, what we hear, what we experience. We even learn from our mistakes, sometimes lessons more important than book-learning lessons.
With today’s technology, education, defined by Webster as the action or process of being educated, just “ain’t what it used to be,” in some regards. Yet in another sense, the world around us, whatever and whenever the situation, is filled with facts we don’t know.
I’m reminded of the story they tell about the director of the patent office who, decades ago, wanted to close the patent office because everything that could be invented had already been invented. But what did he know?
The rate of the growth of knowledge, estimated at doubling every five years a short time ago, is now estimated by IBM to be doubling every eleven hours in the near future. Even the most brilliant minds can’t keep up.
But when two little 5-year-olds know the words and melody of our national anthem, we may be on the right track.
Juanita Hughes is Woodstock’s official historian and former director of the Woodstock Public Library.