Back to school again

Back to school again

It seems school calendars are getting longer and longer and summer vacations shorter and shorter. It’s hard to believe nine short weeks have passed since the 2015-2016 school year screeched to a halt Teachers and other faculty members returned to their schools for orientation and professional development workshops this week and students will follow in their footsteps a week later.

The calendar’s length is determined in large part by the number of days set aside for such things as inclement weather and fall and spring vacation days. None of these were part of the calendars that existed in Alabama schools in the 1940s and 1850s.

Schools in East Central Alabama opened regardless of weather conditions and remained open for a full day. However, not all school buses managed to keep their schedules on time due to the weather. I can recall instances where buses arrived late at school and on the return trip because of a mechanical breakdown, washed out bridge or getting stuck in a mud hole on a dirt road and having to be pulled out by a team of mules.

Vacation days during the school year were unheard of; however, kids did get a three-week break in late September and early October to stay home and pick cotton. What a vacation that was! It should also be noted that schools closed for three days in observance of AEA Week.

Nowadays, a growing number of local churches and community organizations come together to supply the school supplies needs of children whose parents are unable to afford them. As I saw large stacks of bags filled with such supplies in front of the First Baptist Church sanctuary on Sunday, I was reminded if how few supplies we had to start school when I an elementary school student.

I remember as a first grader getting on the school bus with a double-lined Blue Horse tablet and a yellow pencil with eraser in one hand and a sack lunch in the other hand. I felt like I was ready to take on any challenge I faced. Then, she told us we would need

an extra eraser and a bottle of glue. To make matters worse, she removed my pencil from my left hand and placed it in my right hand as I was trying to write the letters of the alphabet.

The Coca Cola Bottling Co. came to our rescue a few days later with a gift pack of school supplies. It consisted of a ruler, a #2 lead pencil and an eraser. The reaction in the classroom was no less pleasing than a visit from Santa.

As a new school year unfolds, we extend best wishes for the success of all of our schools, their staffs and students.

 

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