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Grey Matters for June 6, 2016; Volume 4, Number 37

posted Jun 5, 2016, 9:16 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jun 24, 2016, 5:22 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

Our friend Rachel is staying with us for a little bit, having sold her apartment and needing a place to stay while she closes on her new home.  Rachel is a lot a bit younger than us, and expressed quite a bit of excitement at the prospect of joining the Shen family, helping out with the kids, and experiencing what she imagines being the joys of parenthood.  The kids were psyched for this, and welcomed Rachel with open arms, eager to engage with an adult who is cooler than their father (which, admittedly, does not require overcoming a very high bar).  On one of the first nights, Rachel paired up with Hayden for the nightly bedtime routine, and used the time to ask him about his thoughts on entering 6th grade next year.  In response to her question of what he thought they would be studying, he started listing off a range of subjects and classes.  Then, at the end he adds, “And they told us that next year we’re going to learn about puberty, and what to expect when our bodies go through puberty.”  Brief pause and silence for both Rachel and Hayden, and then he adds the post script, “But I think learning about it next year is too late for one of my friends.  I think he’s been through it already.”  So Rachel’s now staying at a hotel.  Just kidding, she didn’t run for the hills.  She’s still with us, having maneuvered that moment gracefully and still eager to spend more time with the kids.  

An important reminder for 7th grade families that the RJ Grey Student Council will be hosting the 7th Grade Dance in the school gym this Friday, June 10 from 7-9 pm.  The PTSO is still looking for donations of snacks and drinks and a few parent volunteers to set up and staff the snack tables.  If you are able to donate snacks or drinks or a little of your time, please sign up via the SignUpGenius link.  If you have any questions, please contact Tina Connors at  Thank you for your support!  

And of course, there’s the 8th grade end-of-year celebration/dance, which is Friday, June 17th at 7pm.  A friendly reminder that only current RJ Grey 8th grade students are allowed to attend, and students must have been at school that day to attend the evening event - if there are any unique circumstances, send me an email and we can figure it out.

All library books and materials need to be returned to the RJ Grey Library by this Friday, June 10.  We set this due date knowing that it often takes a bit longer to really get everything returned (and sometimes requires more than one reminder, occasionally four or five…), and to identify what resources and texts we may need to replace for next year.  Please know that if a student needs texts for a school-related assignment, we can make arrangements to provide him/her those materials.  Our experience has been that at this time of year, the books that are still out are more for pleasure reading.  

On a related note, I do want to make families aware of textbook “obligations.”  Over the next two weeks, teachers will begin collecting textbooks, library books, and other materials that need to be returned to the school.  Students who still owe textbooks are provided a form that details what is still missing, and the potential replacement costs.  Students must meet their textbook obligations in order to attend the end-of-year field trips!  Please work with your children on locating textbooks that might be hidden under piles of laundry, and avoid replacement fees (some of which can reach $75 for a textbook).

A very important note about our end-of-year field trips on Tuesday, June 21, regarding transportation home at the end of the day: 7th grade students will return to RJ Grey before the 2:06 dismissal, and can take the bus home during the “regular” time (or be picked up).  Our 8th graders will be returning from Canobie around 3:45pm.  Please note that our District’s buses will return to do a second run for our 8th grade students. However, because they are finishing their elementary routes, some buses will pick students up at 4:00pm, and others may start these second runs closer to 4:15pm.  We will stay with the students in the auditorium until their buses arrive, or families are welcome to make other arrangements to pick their children up after we return.  We just want everyone to be aware of the timing.  For any questions, please contact Jim Marcotte at

We had our last round of Everyday Leaders last week, bringing our total number of students recognized through this effort to a little over 60.  Congratulations to Nidhi Bhat, Shane Fitzgerald, Michael Grega, Elena Bauer, Ryan Scripps, Anissa Zeroual, Sahithi Cheerla, Alyssa Washburn, Olive Jaros, and Liam Fenton.  

Have you ever come upon a job posting that you felt was written specifically with you in mind? I had that experience earlier this week, and will be spending some time working on my application. If and when the time comes, I would welcome letters of reference from the Grey Matters readership.  The job is….. wait for it….. a freelance Bacon Critic who will cover bacon’s role in food, drinks, and culture.  The application involves a 600 word essay that recounts my favorite bacon-related memory, and I think to meet that requirement I might string together some combination of the 80 to 90 overindulgent references to bacon that littered last year’s editions of Grey Matters.  Fingers crossed.  

Have a great week, everyone.