By Mike Harrison
Like many families in Ramona, last week marked the annual tradition in our house of taking our kids to their first day of school. This time was extra special in that it was my son’s last first day in elementary school.
As my wife worked her magic to get him and his sister to cooperate for their picture in front of the Barnett Elementary School sign, I could not help but reflect on how lucky we are to live in Ramona. Watching my children find their friends with whom they have grown up, played sports, gone to church, or just ran into in our grocery store is one of those moments that make life cool.
I am appreciative of the parent volunteers who take great efforts to ensure everyone knows where to go for class and I am so thankful for the school’s neighbors who put up with us parents squeezing out every available parking spot on their street so we can spend a little extra time with our kids.
I looked at the smiles of youngsters showing off their Monster High backpacks, Vans shoes and silly T-shirts, without the worry or stress that unfortunately plague kids in other scarier parts of the world. Our children in Ramona know they are safe, that their parents are entrusting them with teachers who care about them, that their school belongs to them.
I think back to just a few months ago when, after many long discussions, the Ramona Teachers Association and the Ramona Unified School District came to an agreement to avoid a labor strike that would have placed a very dark cloud over this first day. And it is impossible to think of this situation without recognizing the vital role the Ramona Parents Coalition played in bringing the two sides together and the fact that these moms, dedicating countless hours of their time and every bit of their God-given talents, literally helped make the impossible become possible.
While we are tempted to roll our eyes and sigh about the homework and occasional tardy slips, it is important to recognize that we are truly blessed to know the experiences that are ahead for our kids this coming year. How many in Chicago have the opportunity to build a California mission out of sugar cubes and Legos and then visit that same mission? How many in Detroit get to bunk overnight aboard the Star of India or have staring contests with bighorn sheep on hikes in the Borrego Springs desert?
Yes, my son’s last first day at elementary school was special, and I fully expect that my daughter’s last first day will be equally special next year. It’s Ramona. How could it not be?
Mike Harrison is a Ramona resident.