Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Endings and Beginnings

Endings are hard sometimes.

It’s hard to see a chapter of your life close even when you are excited about the opening of another. As we quickly approach the end of another school year for the Intrepid Junior Blogger we approach a new milestone, too: the completion of her junior high years and a move on to high school.
It doesn’t seem like three years have gone by. I remember her first day at Ecole McTavish, and her excitement at being part of a brand new school. She is part of the first class to attend the school for all three years, the first cohort to spend their entire junior high years in this school. It has been a remarkable journey, and one evening last week she and I had the honour of sharing our thoughts about it with some parents of the incoming students next year.
It was an honour to be asked, and it was a pleasure to share some of our thoughts about her experience at the school. She is a product of the Fort McMurray Public School District, and it has been part of her life since kindergarten. When she graduates from Westwood, an event not that terribly far away, she will have spent the bulk of her life under the supervision of the teachers of the FMPSD. The most recent three years, of course, have been at McTavish.
One evening this past week I spoke to the parents about how McTavish isn’t just about developing students but creating citizens. I talked about academics, and about all the activities the IJB has participated in over the last three years. I spoke about the focus on volunteerism and giving back, on her time on the stage acting in musicals and about her time in the robotics club. She and I played off each other as we usually do, and yet, somehow, I still forgot things.
“I forgot to mention the ski trip to Jasper,” I moan in the car on the way home. “And I forgot about so many other things, too.”
She stares at me quietly as she often does now, no longer quite the ever-talkative kid she was in Grade 7.
“I forgot to say how the school has prepared you for high school, and how it helped to get you ready for that next phase,” I continue.
Huge brown eyes blink at me.
“I hate that I forget that stuff, it’s important,” I say, and the face is unchanged. Finally I say:
“Dairy Queen?”
The eyes light up and the face creases into a smile.
It is true, though. Junior High School has changed the IJB, and she is no longer the kid she was in Grade 7. Now at 14 she has a few things under her belt – a couple of theatrical performances, a robotics team win, a published article in a local magazine. She talks a lot now about things I don’t understand, like Youtube stars and role-playing video games. In Grade 7 she had no idea what she wanted to be when she grew up, and now she talks about a future in Engineering. Next year she wants to audition for productions at Keyano Theatre, and she is already thinking about her Grade Twelve year and final exams and all the rest.
If the next three years are anything like the last three they will fly by, and so much will have happened that I will have trouble remembering it all. It is hard to believe that these three years are drawing to a close, and that in June the IJB will say farewell to Ecole McTavish forever.
We are off to new adventures, her and I. She will be a high school student and I will be the mom of a high school student. Seeing her three years at McTavish end will be hard, but it was so nice to be able to reflect on the last three years as we shared our experience as student and parent at the school that has been a huge part of our lives. Only one thing has the power to break me from the kind of reverie I was in that evening, really.
Dairy Queen.

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