Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Exeter-Milligan Update: View from the Front Office

by Paul Sheffield

It’s hard to believe we have been utilizing eLearning for almost two months and are close to wrapping up the 2019-20 school year. In reality, by the time you read this we will have finished the school year. The teachers and students at Exeter-Milligan have done a tremendous job of adapting to this alternate delivery method.  We were a little ahead of the game since we are a 1 to 1 school - each student in grades K-6 has their own iPad and each student in grades 7-12 has their own laptop.  Granted, this is not the best form of educating all students, but we are forging ahead and embracing this challenge with vigor.  A huge thank you goes out to the E-M school board for their continued support of the technology placed into the hands of our students and teachers. 

My heart aches for the Class of 2020.  This year has not been the kind of year any of us could have planned for.  There are many milestones this group will not have the opportunity to refer to when they reminisce about the “good old days” - prom, senior trip, track meets, district music - the list goes on and on.  However, the Class of 2020 did have the opportunity for an abbreviated graduation ceremony. The weather somewhat cooperated (it was a little breezy), but we were able to provide some closure and celebrate this milestone together as a group.  

At the beginning of the year when the seniors were deciding on a class motto, one that bubbled to the top was, “Send it, it will buff!”  Being of the “older” generation, I did have to Google to see if there were any hidden meanings to this saying.  My own children looked at me with that “old man” look in their eyes and said, ”Really Dad, you don’t know what it means?” (Insert eye roll here).  After a little more investigation I found there wasn’t an alternate meaning. Basically it means that’s good enough for us. The group finally settled on “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” 

While school was still in session and we were all wondering how this COVID-19 thing was going to affect us, we discussed with the students about the stories they were going to be able to share when they got older.  Our grandparents always had the stories of how they had to walk to school, uphill (both ways), in rain, sleet, or snow.  My generation was able to share about life without cell phones and computers. The stories these students will share with their grandchildren will go like, “I remember when we didn’t attend school for 3 months and we didn’t have track meets, prom - heck we even had to stay home with mom and dad and it felt like forever.”

Upon further review, though, it seems appropriate to refer to the Class of 2020’s first choice for a motto.  With all of the unknowns we have experienced, it does get right to the point.  Navigating the COVID-19 path has been one for the ages.  There are days when we all look at each other and say, “Well, I guess that will have to be good enough.”  As we move forward, there are still many unknowns, but I can hear the Class of 2020 giving me their advice, “Send it, it will buff!”

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