The final student day: it's all about the yearbooks

A last minute student request for six letters of recommendation sealed in envelopes, left me a bit frazzled before our MS/HS awards ceremony this morning.  A stream of students with requests to sign yearbooks kept me from the task.  The clock was ticking and I managed to print out the recommendations and sign all the yearbooks.  The envelope stuffing would have to wait.

MS teachers giving out awards.  I'm at the podium for the MS science award.

Meanwhile, down in the gymnasium eager students and staff were gathering for the final school event of the year.  5th graders were graduating from elementary school, 8th graders were graduating from MS, and a host of awards were to be delivered.  And, it was the last day of the school year that students would be in the school.  Excitement was in the air.

A delightful morning full of recognition, music, and song ensued.  We celebrated the students.  We celebrated the year.  We celebrated accomplishments and improvements.  We celebrated talent.  We celebrated education.  We finished the morning with singing our “AISR Good-Bye” song, a unifying tradition.  Then, on to the cafeteria for ice-cream. 

For students, however, the most important part of today was getting their yearbooks signed.  Even seniors showed up for the event with that express goal in mind.  I recollect yearbook signing.  While I never really knew what to write, I was eager to read the words of others and hated the student who chose to write the following words in the crease of where pages and binder joined, “I was the first to sign in your crack”.  Years later, across the ocean, in a small international school, the tradition carries on.  It’s the exact same scene: students bent feverishly over their books, contemplating what to write or simply scribbling something hurriedly.  The books are returned to owners and some immediately read while others are hurried to the next person to sign.  It’s clear, this is an important ritual.  While the significance of the peer-penned words that seems so important now will fade, the memories created by the interactions with the authors will last forever.  The experiences of this year, whose memories will be triggered upon pouring over the yearbook in years to come, will hopefully leave these students with lessons learned and new convictions formed. 

Yearbooks tend to be cherished pocessions.  I still own all of mine, as does my husband.  Perhaps the yearbook serves as documentation of development and maturation.  It is a reminder of carefree years in which we developed, unknowingly, into the adults of today. So, today I enjoyed watching students participate in the tradition of yearbook signing.  I wish students everywhere fond memories of their school years and a wonderful summer!