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Grey Matters, June 22, 2015; Volume 3, Number 39

posted Jun 21, 2015, 9:39 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jul 6, 2015, 6:37 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

Happy Father’s Day to those of you who celebrated the event this past weekend.  We went out to dinner in the North End on Saturday night with my wife’s family, and had a joint celebration for the three dads who were in attendance.  After dinner, we made our way to the North End staple/tourist trap Mike’s Pastry, where I’ve never seen a line with less than 50 people.  As my sister-in-law got in line, I made my way inside to some open tables, and on the way was verbally berated by a fellow customer who thought I was cutting her and 30 other people.  I’ve decided that while I enjoy a good overpriced cannoli (4 bucks each!) as much as the next person, it’s not worth the grief (and waiting) that usually ensues.  Not sure, however, if I’ll ever convince my father-in-law of Italian descent, and his desert-loving daughter (my wife), to share that conclusion.  For those also celebrating Father’s Day, here’s a quick clip from the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, where they asked kids in Rockefeller Plaza questions about their dads.


We had over 350 8th grade students join us last Friday night for a really great end-of-year celebration.  Watching and interacting with them at these events always reminds us of how fortunate we are to have a school full of great kids.  I mentioned to a few parents that evening that only in middle school could you have hundreds of students dancing excitedly to music by Kanye West, and then immediately transition to a group sing-along of “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen.  A little surreal, and yet completely representative of this particular age group.  We hope those of you whose children attended the event heard positive reports about the evening, and that everyone had a good time.  To the small cohort of parents who snuck in towards the end of the night to take a few pictures, you were brave souls to risk a response from your teenage child that would probably make my Mike’s Pastry scolding look like a friendly chat between old friends.  

An event of this size is only possible because we continue to have parents and families who are willing to contribute their time and energy, and to donate a mountain of food.  A big “Thank You” to the many parents who made a commitment to helping make the evening a big success. And a super-sized thank you to Judy Nolan for continuing to take the lead, and managing coordinating all the moving parts and planning involved with a big party for a few hundred teenagers.  

Here’s a final list of reminders and notes about this week, please make sure you follow up with your sons or daughters about anything that might pertain to you:

  • The Library will not be open after school this week.  As a side note, we only have a few more library books to collect, which is great.  Thank you to the students and families for remembering to return borrowed items.  

  • Class field trips are on Wednesday.  7th graders heading to Kimball’s will be back for the regular 2:06 dismissal and bus routes.  8th graders heading to Canobie Lake will return around 3:45pm, and buses will offer an additional run of the routes between 4:00pm and 4:20pm.  Parents are also welcome to come and pick up their children.  

  • Students who ordered yearbooks will be receiving them on Tuesday!  There are a limited number of additional yearbooks that will be sold that day for $37.  Many thanks to Vicki Weeks (8 Red English) and her Yearbook Club crew for their hard work and efforts this year.  

  • The last day of school is Thursday, and it is a half-day.  Our closing activity is an all-school assembly that will take place in the High School auditorium.  Students will be dismissed at the end of the event, and can get on buses right outside the high school (at 10:45am).  Parents planning to pick their children up can still park in the Junior High parking lot.  

  • Report cards will be mailed home to families in early July.  If you haven’t seen anything in the mail by mid-July, send me an email and we can get you another copy.  Or, if your son/daughter pulled an “Andrew Shen”, you might want to check your washing machine to see if the report card is currently going through a second spin cycle.  

  • Families of current 7th grade students who are returning to RJ Grey next year (or if you are a family with a student joining us next year from the elementary schools), you’ll receive our summer mailing in early August.  If you are a current 7th grade family who is not planning to return to RJ Grey next year (moving, attending a private school, etc.), we would appreciate hearing from you, as that information will assist us with our scheduling work this summer.  

So this is the 39th and final edition of Grey Matters for the year.  Before we briefly part ways for the summer, I want to thank you, our parent community, for your continued support of our school. It does not escape me (or us) the degree to which parent involvement and investment changes the landscape of a school, more often than not for the better.  We know that parents have high expectations for the school, and that we also have high expectations for the parents.  This partnership is indeed what often leads to the great experiences that so many of our students have at RJ Grey.  To be sure, those high expectations also means that there will be moments where we aren’t in total agreement on some things.  However, I’ll always take passionate debate and occasional disagreements over apathy and disinterest, especially when it comes from a shared interest in how to help our students (your kids) develop into thoughtful and confident individuals.  We’ve enjoyed working with you this year, and we certainly hope the feeling is mutual.  

For those parents who do not have students returning to RJ Grey, thank you for continuing to engage with me about the different topics of discussion that get mentioned on Grey Matters! It’s tempting to create an alumni edition of Grey Matters, so we can keep exchanging articles about all things bacon, like this most recent one, whose title ends with the phrase, “How to Eat Bacon with Everything”.  

As I mentioned at the end of last year, the summer months away from school serve an important purposes for students, families, and teachers.  It’s an opportunity to decompress, pursue other interests, and re-charge.  Thinking about school 24/7 doesn’t benefit anyone, and we hope that everyone uses these next 8-10 weeks to expand their horizons, try some new things, and sometimes enjoy and treasure those moments where time feels like it moves more slowly while you’re doing absolutely nothing at all.  It is always remarkable to see the degree to which young people change and grow, even in these (too short) summer months, and we look forward to reuniting with our returning students, and welcoming our next 7th grade class to RJ Grey.  Like last summer, we too will decompress a bit, and spend time dreaming up ways to make next year a great one for our students.  

Have a great week, and a great summer, everyone.