Posted on May 21, 2011
Seven years ago, a little Episcopal School in Ka`imuki became part of Mid-Pacific. Today, 22 of Epiphany's last fifth grade class graduated from Mid-Pacific as proud members of the Class of 2011, composed of over 200 students. The other afternoon, quite late, about ten seniors from this last Epiphany fifth grade class showed up outside the elementary school, peering through the window. I happened to be passing through the office when I saw them smiling back at me. I opened the glass doors, wondering why they all sported sheepish smiles, looking at one another then back to me. "Hey! I know you! Our Epiphany students!" I exclaimed. "I'll be at your graduation on Saturday!" Then Taylor Ann stepped forward and pulled a framed photo from behind her. Kristi, Trey, Chimera chimed, "We came to thank you. Thank you and all the teachers for everything you've done for us." I looked at the photo of all 22 students taken at their Senior Camp last semester, their signatures framing the photo, then looked back at them smiling back at me. Then I lost it.
In one of those deja vu flashes, I remembered each one of them instantly as 5-year-old kindergartners. And here they were, young men and women, all of 18 years old. Now and then a student might return to express gratitude and drop off a graduation portrait, but none in such a large group.
All the years we'd been Epiphany School, the teachers and I wondered what would become of our exiting sixth graders (Epiphany was a K-6 elementary school for nearly 70 years.) Now, as Mid-Pacific, we have the joy of watching the children who came to us in their early childhood slowly transform -- taller, more beautiful, more handsome, more articulate, more independent -- now leaving us in their young adulthood. They've graduated from high school and commence a new chapter in their lives. The Class of 2011 graduation itself was impressive under sunny, breezy skies; Manoa Valley is a stunning backdrop. If you're interested in seeing the special photo the former Epiphany students gave me, please ask Ms. Kelli or Mrs. Schultz for directions.
Based on the faculty's comments, the end-of-year conferences seemed to go well.
Take time with your child to review the portfolio pieces again, perhaps asking questions about his or her process of writing, reading, problem-solving, building, painting, etc. I know that the consistency and cohesiveness of this assessment and evaluation process from preschool through fifth grade and in the special areas of learning (art, physical education, music, character education) is certainly a major strength of the preschool and elementary program. Your children made careful selections of portfolio pieces and seriously reflected on their learning.
Before the end of the following week, you should be receiving electronically a summary of the conference, as well as your child's continua for art, physical education, and music, and personalized comments and observations of your child's performance in character education.
Although we have one more week of school, it is probably the busiest week in the school year. Blessing of the 5th grade Sustainable Garden project on Monday aftertnoon. Student Recognition Assembly on Tuesday. Book Swap in C.E. until Wednesday. Fifth Grade Leavetaking Ceremony and Fly-Up Day (students "move up" to next grade level) on Wednesday. Field Day on Thursday for all preschool and elementary students, followed by lunch for all students and families who attend Field Day.
We are savoring every moment of the upcoming week with your children. Speechless again.
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey