Friday, August 9, 2013

School's back in. Sort of.

See, I live in a county where all the kids go to the same high school. This year, they've finally built a freshman school, which took the high school's population down to 1800 students. No more need for portable buildings, the part of the school the kids called "the trailer park." And then a month ago, the vocational portion of the high school collapsed. Just... collapsed. It was impossible not to think about what would have happened if school had been in session.
The local paper published the county's intent to stay on schedule. The whole school is a construction zone, as they remodel a bit at a time. But earlier this week I started hearing stories about the cracks in the walls of the other buildings and broken roof drains that were causing water to pool on the roof. They even brought in metal beams to shore up the remainder of the school. And I started to worry. What happens when you add the weight and movement of almost two thousand adult-sized kids to a two story structurally damaged building? I called the central office and eventually talked with the director schools. He told me he had a certified letter I could come have a look at from the structural engineers who were involved saying the school was safe. That there would be regular inspections and the drains had been repaired.  That one of the engineers and the head of maintenance had children at the schools. That if he had any concerns about the safety, he'd have delayed the start of school. Still... I kept envisioning the building collapsing with my 16-year-old child in it.
I talked with my son about the option of changing to a high school in the next county. No. It's his senior year and he was NOT transferring. I said I wanted him to stay home at least the first day. He said no to that, too. He had a summer AP assignment due on the first day and he was NOT missing school. He also pointed out, reasonably enough, that there was no reason to think that if there was going to be a problem it would happen the first day. "What about the cumulative effect of the added weight?" Oh, great. I get to worry all year. But I dropped him off yesterday morning for his first day, and asked him to text me as soon as he was home so that I'd know everything was okay. This is the text he sent me:
I just don't even understand where he gets his sarcasm from.
And so I made the 15th annual First Day of School cake. I thought there would be two of these, one for each of my sons' first day of kindergarten. But when I made a first day of school cake for my older son, he apparently saw it differently. The next year, on the first day of 1st grade, he looked at me and said, "You're making a First Day of School cake, right?  It's a tradition!" And so it is.

27 comments:

  1. Nice tradition. And I adore your son's sense of humor. But now I'm gong to worry all year, too.

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    1. Maybe if we all worry, it will help some how.

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  2. And imagine me being a first commenter on a blog. That's a good sign.

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  3. "Still... I kept envisioning the building collapsing with my 16-year-old child in it."

    I don't blame you for being worried because I would be too. That is scary.

    And it's ironic that you posted this because we've had TWO building collapse here in Philly over the summer. One was due to construction workers who were collapsing a building next to another building, and they accidentally PUSHED the building that they were trying to collapse INTO the other building; causing IT to collapse. The other incident was due to faulty construction, so it just collapsed.

    Love the text message from your son. Great sense of humor!

    That cake looks YUM-MY!

    X

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    1. It happens, as much as everyone would like to think all buildings are stable. And obviously, this particular building isn't so stable.

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  4. As a teacher, I'm all in favour of first-day-of-school cakes, for staff and for students! Sounds like your son's school administration has reason to feel confident that the school is safe, but I certainly understand your concern. Sad that school is so low on the priority list in terms of directing money flow. My school has a trailer park too, and it grows mould. Awful.

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    1. I'm afraid this one never left the house. With two adolescent boys, it didn't made it past the first day!

      It's crazy that we are wiling to house students in moldy trailers.

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  5. Your son has a lovely sense of humour and I love the first day of school cake tradition.

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    1. He does - he has a way of saying things that make me laugh even as I'm worrying.

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  6. I just think it sucks that he has to go back to school so early! It's summer!

    My kids never let us forget those traditions either. I rue the Xmas I made green and red jello salad.

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    1. They get out mid-May down here.

      Ooh - glad I never tried the jello thing!

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  7. ha. i love his text...that is scary though...geez...i am back at school this week...sucks...meeting and training...cant wait for kids to get back

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  8. I would be worried too, despite all the reassurances from "experts". We all know how many experts have been proved wrong. But if your son is confident the school's safe, it makes you sound a bit weird to insist he doesn't attend. I hope the experts are right and there's no need to worry.

    I love his deadpan text! And I love the First Day of School cake, especially the zillions of sprinkles!

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    1. I don't think he'd forgive me to force him to change schools his last year. But I hope they continue to monitor closely.

      They asked me what sort of cake I was making and I said, yellow cake! WIth chocolate frosting! And funfetti!

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  9. Wow, I'd be worried too. What strikes me as odd is that the school didn't email parents ahead of time and enclose a scan of that "assurance" letter.
    Love your son's sense of humour, sounds like my younger daughter.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. It was in the newspaper the day before school, but many people here aren't reachable by email.

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  10. How old was the school? The outside portion I see does not look that old. I'd have some qualms about sending my child there too.

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    1. It was built in the 1970's. I don't know if they've determined yet why the vocational building collapsed.

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  11. Well I certainly hope he will be safe at school. He does have a great sense of humor and I love the cake tradition!

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    1. Yes he does. And he's a very determined student!

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  12. Quite unsettling. I think it does help to know that the people assuring you things are safe have more to lose than their reputations.
    Nice looking cake and boy you got there!

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    1. I wish the principal and the director of schools had children there!

      And thanks!

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  13. Oh my god, I love the sarcasm! He looks so much older with that hair cut!

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    1. His brother actually gave him that haircut!

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  14. oh good lord, i can TOTALLY understand your concerns! that said, his text is freaking hilarious.

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