The end of a journey... a new beginning

By Dr. Marci Larsen, Superintendent | Jun 06, 2012

I took my 5-year-old great niece to see Kamiak High School’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” early last month. It was an exciting experience for both of us. She was completely captivated by the performance and especially by seeing the characters that she knew so well from the Disney movie.

And, after the play, she was thrilled to meet and have her picture taken with the student who played Belle. (Thanks, Rachel.)

As we watched the play, my great niece couldn’t get over the fact that the actors on the stage were “live humans.” When I tried to explain to her that they were kids, she replied, incredulously: “Those aren’t kids!”

The conversation made me think how far the children in our schools progress from the time they arrive as kindergarteners to the time that they graduate from high school. They arrive wide-eyed and innocent, eager to learn new things, and they leave as accomplished young adults, ready to take on the future.

With the school year now coming to an end, it’s a good time to take stock of some of the accomplishments the students have made over the past nine months and to recognize how far they have grown.

School calendars are filled with awards assemblies and year-end performances by school bands, orchestras and choirs. Not only did students at Kamiak celebrate their skills in performing “Beauty and the Beast,” but so did the talented drama students at Mariner High School in their excellent performance of “Hairspray,” and the students at Harbour Pointe Middle School as they performed “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Our students continue to shine academically. The past year brought a number of recognitions for students who are involved with activities such as debate, robotics competitions, elementary Destination Imagination and DECA. Some of our athletes recently accomplished state titles in both boys’ golf and girls’ tennis.

Champions of another variety also were honored at an event held at Mariner in late April, when representatives of schools from throughout the state gathered there to be recognized as winners of the Washington Achievement Awards. We also had three schools receive state Schools of Distinction awards.

The little kindergarteners who walked into our classrooms in the fall of 1999 are graduating from high school this year. During the past 13 years, they have grown into young men and women who have been busy the past few weeks with the traditional preparations for the next step in their lives.

They have enjoyed proms and other year-end activities, learned of getting scholarships that will easily total more than $4 million, and will now welcome aunts, uncles and grandparents who will arrive from all over the country to see them graduate.

They were once excited young children like my great niece, thrilled with the magic of experiencing new things. Soon they will walk onto a stage and accept their diplomas, and then they will say goodbye to fellow classmates and their teachers and head off into the world.

They’ve traveled quite a journey, haven’t they?

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