Ending well is as important as beginning. Seed teachers put in countless hours completing their students’ awards and progress reports, reflecting on each precious child who has been part of this community for another year. I remember when I was a classroom teacher. Tears flowed as I wrote each child’s narrative, created his/her award and scanned through memories of our past nine months. Establishing and sustaining community in each classroom is a priority, so how we bring it to closure matters. Over the years we’ve developed several school-wide rituals that play a significant part in our last days together. Studies come together as parents and schoolmates attend open houses in celebration of learning. Buddy groups join up for one last time. A new favorite is the 3rd/4th graders’ annual musical production, which is offered to students in the morning and an evening performance for parents.
On the last day, each class has an awards ceremony. The ceremonies are spread throughout the day so families with multiple children can attend each one. Teachers call one child at a time to come forward and say a few things about each student. Kleenex is generally involved. Following awards, some of the classes have breakfast or lunch gatherings that include parents, depending on the time of day. At 2:30 everyone comes together in the multipurpose room to graduate our oldest Seeds. More kleenex. Graduates sing, we celebrate and honor the people who sustain Awakening Seed, diplomas are handed out, we sing “Celebrate Life on Planet Earth,” pictures are taken, then the Seeds disperse.
In the old days, we used to return the next morning for pool parties. A family from each class hosted the party and it was one last time together before scattering to the wind. As we added toddlers and more staff members had children, the pool parties were harder to coordinate. It was time for a shift. The end-of-year family party was born. Although others may have offered input, I give most of the credit for this change to my daughter Astraea, our assistant director at the time. The end-of-year family party replaced pool parties with an evening event on the same day as awards and graduation. The whole school can be together, kids can roam in a safe space and it gives the summer school teachers an extra half day to prep for the coming weeks.
This year’s family party will be held on June 4 from 4 to 7 P. M. We’ll have tables full of great food, sno cones with fruit juice, two water slides, face painting, water play and a beautiful evening of celebrating the completion of the Seed’s 37th year. Some families will return to us the following Monday to begin our Seed Summer Art Camp. Others we may never see again. The event feels like a blessing, sending each family on their way, regardless of direction or destination. It’s a blessing that scatters a bit more of the Seed around the planet.