Written by Gina Sue Bradley.

Back to School Reflections

August escorts in the first day of school, ready or not! With that thought, you may be humming the Four Tops’ “Back to School Again” in your head, or maybe “The Wheels on the Bus;” some parents may be singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” But no matter your response, back-to-school beckons in August.

“The night before the first day of school, I have my clothes laid out for that morning.” says Baker Koonce Intermediate principal

Clarinda Collins. “I look forward to seeing student and faculty smiling faces. I love to help them any way I can.” As a campus principal, she works through the summer but misses the students’ “smiles, hugs, and conversations. They love to tell exciting news!” Principal Collins also reveals, “Although I work in the summer, I will have to get back into the routine of going to bed instead of staying up late watching movies.”

Ahhhh! What fun a teacher/administrator confession always is!

“My job is my hobby.” confesses Carthage Junior High head coach Paul Bishop. “I work all summer, so going back to school is actually a break for me,” he laughs. Because he is a physical education teacher and a coach for football, basketball, and track, you would think that summer would be a welcome spell, but Coach Bishop misses coaching in the summer. “After doing this for 27 years, I still get butterflies on game night. I love coaching and find it relaxing to call plays; so come fall, I’m ready to get going on football. I’m excited to meet the new kids in P.E. and Athletics. The first couple of weeks of school are always refreshing.”

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden once said, “Sports do not build character; they reveal it,” and that is true for the coaches as well as the players!

Back-to-school time for the Chamness family of Beckville involves all the BISD campuses: Beckville Sunset Elementary, Beckville Junior High, and Beckville High School. John and Mindy Elliott Chamness have three already-active students, one Pre-K beginner student, and an almost three-year old still at home, so you might expect Mindy to quote American Novelist Edgar W. Howe: “If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.” However, she says, “I miss the fact that my children will not  be home with me.” She adds, “But I will also enjoy being on more of a schedule when school starts, especially since I will still have one at home. I will be sad that McKinleigh will start Pre-K, but I know she will enjoy meeting new friends and teachers, as well as learning more about her numbers and colors and alphabet.” Four-year-old McKinleigh herself says she is “excited about starting school,” which she qualifies by stating, “I’m excited to be going to school because the other kids (her brother and sisters) are going, and I want to go get school supplies like the big kids. I want to get shoes, dresses, pants, and ALL that kind of stuff.”

McKinleigh’s big brother Trace DOES like the shoe shopping part of back-to-school preparations, but he is “NOT excited about all the homework” once school gets going. The Beckville Sunset Elementary fifth grader says, “I’m excited about seeing old friends and meeting new ones, though. I miss my friends and teacher during the summer.”

Mindy says the summer finds her missing “the regular routine and school activities which, for us, include twirling, football, basketball, volleyball, baseball, and band activities. Having multiple children, we are constantly busy, all the time, but I love supporting my children in every way possible.”

Seventh grader McKinna misses “some of my friends and all my favorite teachers” during the summer.  “I do not look forward to the homework,” she says, “but when school starts, I do look forward to seeing my friends that I don’t get to see in the summer.” Twelve-year old McKinna’s outlook differs a bit from her big sister McKayla’s perspective.

McKayla begins her senior year at Beckville High School this August and says, “For this fall, I’m excited to start school because it is my last year of school, and I get to experience all of the senior events. I am not excited, though, that in a year I will walk out of those doors for good. I will go from seeing my friends every day to seeing them maybe four times a year.” McKayla says school clothes shopping is “without a doubt” her favorite activity preparing for the first day of school. However, she adds, “I miss football season more than anything when it ends. The feeling of twirling under those stadium lights is exhilarating!”

Mindy is thankful that McKayla can drive all the kids to school, but her oldest child’s senior year pulls at her heart strings, too. She says, “I will be sad that McKayla will be a senior, but I know she is well on her way to adulthood and a bright career and future.” Mindy concludes, “I do feel old having a senior, seventh grader, fifth grader, pre-k-er, and my almost three-year-old McKneleigh, but I feel beyond blessed by the Lord.”

A marquee once read, “Back to school time. Resistance is futile.” Come on! No matter how you feel about homework, the first day of school is always exciting!

How do you celebrate? Do you enjoy looking at everyone’s first day of school pictures on Facebook? Are you mourning your baby not being a baby anymore? Do you go for extra credit and lay out your clothes for the whole week? What about those school supplies? Are you an overachiever, with your bag or backpack stuffed with all your supplies and ready to go weeks in advance?

No matter how you prepare or what your year holds, summer always reminds you of at least one thing you miss about your school days, so look forward to at least that one thing in August, and find a back-to-school tune to hum out loud, Panola County!