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Grey Matters, June 19, 2017; Volume 5, Number 38

posted Jun 18, 2017, 7:10 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jul 18, 2017, 11:02 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

 

Happy Father’s Day to those of you who celebrated the event this past weekend. At this time last year I mentioned my hope that the Father’s Day parade of endless gifts that I anticipated from my family would include this outdoor pergola structure that I’ve been eyeing for some time now.  The pergola never materialized last year, and despite some not-so-subtle hints over the course of this past year (subtle = “our backyard would be great with a pergola”), my dreams of comfortably relaxing under such a structure will have to wait (maybe forever).  Of course, without this distraction, I was able to spend the day focusing on how fortunate I am to have three kids who were excited to make me waffles and ice cream on Sunday morning, and pretend that the sibling bickering before, during and after the cooking (and was not about who loves me more) never happened.   

 

We had 350 8th grade students join us last Friday night for our annual end-of-year celebration and dance.  Watching and interacting with them at these events always reminds us of how fortunate we are to have a school full of great kids. The rainy weather didn’t dampen the spirit of our 8th graders and based on the hearing loss that we adults suffered by the end of the evening, I think it safe to say they had a wonderful time.  

We were fortunate to once again have an army of volunteer parents take the lead on this event.  An event of this size is only possible because those parents and families are willing to contribute their time and energy.  A big “Thank You” to everyone who helped make the evening a big success - the donations of food from many of our families resulted in a bounty of food that was consumed throughout the evening.  Many thanks also goes to Debbie Ahl (8 Orange English teacher) and our 7th grade School Council officers for their work.  And an extra and ongoing thank you to parent coordinators Carol Chytil, Deb Verner, and Ranjini Reddy for choreographing the whole evening, soup to nuts.  Earlier that afternoon before the dance Carol informed me that this team was committing to coordinating this event for the next few years, and I almost wept.  We hope your children came home having enjoyed the evening.  

 

Here’s a final list of reminders and notes about this week, please make sure you follow up with your children 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- rain or shine! The forecast right now looks good right now and hoping it stays that way.   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 Thursday (the last day) before the Closing Assembly. There are a limited number of additional yearbooks that are currently on sale for $37.  Those who are interested in purchasing a yearbook should connect with Ms. Weeks (8 Green English). Many thanks to Ms. Weeks 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 (students and staff only) 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 at the end of June/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.  

  • Next year, school starts for students for 7th and 9th graders on Tuesday, September 5. 8th grade students start the next day, Wednesday, September 6.  Here is a link to next year’s school calendar.  

 

Our Librarian, Ms. Charpentier, has created a summer reading list for the Junior High.  Check it out by clicking here.  This is not required reading, but a list of recommended titles that may interest our students.  Many thanks to the Acton Public Library, as they are buying extra copies for these books and will also provide print-outs of the summer reading list.    

 

So this is the final edition of Grey Matters for the year.  I hope you will allow me to end with some words and thoughts that I put together a few years ago and have included at the conclusion of each year.  While I regret that my closing remarks aren’t entirely original and unique to this year, I am also grateful that the experiences and sentiments that I have expressed each June continues to be applicable with another school year coming to a close.  This is indeed the case despite, and perhaps moreso, because of the challenges that our school and our community has encountered this past year.  

 

Before we briefly part ways for the summer, I want to thank you, our parent and family community, for your continued support of our school. It does not escape me (or us) the degree to which family 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 continue to 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.  

 

As I mentioned each June, 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, take (healthy) risks and 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 good one for our students.  

 

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

 

Cheers,

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