The End of 8th. The End of an Era.

We are in the final days of Whit’s 8th grade year. The end of what were six absolutely fantastic middle school years for our family. I went in with low expectations in 2017 and then worked diligently to change the narrative on our local middle school. It was loving. Caring. Compassionate. Safe. In many ways, we loved it even more than elementary school. This week marks the end of an era for our little family and a very sad farewell to the school in the middle that served us so well.

Whit’s last month has been full of festivities. In addition to a full day of field day, he performed beautifully in his very last concert of middle school.

He attended the eighth grade dance.

And, he took a class trip to Dollywood!

A side note on Dollywood: He not only thought to purchase me a loaf of the cinnamon bread I’ve talked about for years, but he kept up with it all day long! Remember, this is the child I had to disallow from checking out library books in elementary school and stopped providing lunch boxes and water bottles for in middle school. He’d lose his head if it wasn’t attached. The bag looked like it rode in every rollercoaster pocket, was smooshed in his cinch pack, and likely spent some time on the floor of the bus, but it tasted absolutely perfect. The sweetest gesture from the sweetest kid.

The festivities have continued with friends at home, too!

The school fully embraced these kids that did not get to celebrate the end of elementary school. They came in scared, starting an already terrifying phase of life in their bedrooms alone and online. They eventually returned wearing masks and eating behind plastic dividers at their desks. Most of them only knew a few other kids, based on the way our districting works. They turned from tweens into teens into impressive young ladies and gentlemen. And, all the while, they navigated one of the most uncertain times in life, the three years of life in which you physically, emotionally and mentally grow more than any other three years besides ages 0-3, and one of the most uncertain times for the entire world with grace and positivity. I am thankful and proud. So very proud.

Whit’s First Day of Middle School – at home 2020

And nearly the last! 2023

John’s first day of the same school 2017

And his last (he ended in 2020 online and in his bedroom)

It’s the end of an era. While I am feeling a little weepy (and cried actual tears on my last volunteer shift), it is onward and upward from here!

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7 thoughts on “The End of 8th. The End of an Era.

  1. Congrats to Whit! Such handsome boys! My younger son is the same age as John so he didn’t get to celebrate the end of 8th grade either. It’s so surreal that we’re now visiting colleges. Best wishes to both of your sweet boys!

  2. Your boys are so handsome. Good luck in your next adventure. Cherish every moment, it goes by so very fast!

  3. So awesome. Dollywood is our home park, and that cinnamon bread is a must. We carry a gallon sized ziploc bag with us to keep ours safe during the day. They also have an apple butter bread that is definitely take-home worthy.

  4. Your comment on how your son would lose his head if it wasn’t attached brought back memories of my now 30 year old in middle school. I remember several lost gym bags filled with clothes, locker locks, etc. and going into the school myself trying to find them! He is now super organized. It’s amazing how everything you teach them eventually comes to fruition. He was always a top student and very involved. We would watch as he matured, notice the improvements and always laugh, like the Cheezit ad, and say, “not quite ready”. Then all of a sudden they are more than ready. Keep on teaching and cherishing the process.

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