WORTHINGTON — Most of us know what it’s like to be a student on the first day of school of a brand new year. We’ve lived it: already sharpened pencils all perfectly lined up, brand new crayons (my personal favorite), scissors, erasers all tucked in a pencil box and placed in a new backpack with zippers that mom hopes will last the entire year. Many of us who have spent time in a classroom know what it is like for a teacher at the beginning of a new year: student desks strategically arranged and seat-assigned, brand-new office supplies, lessons plans carefully made to ensure a smooth day and perhaps a new outfit to start the year off right.
What does a principal at the local Christian school feel, think and do the morning of the first day of school? I’ll tell you.
5 a.m.: Biggest decision of the day. Do I get out of bed or do I hope to catch a few more minutes of sleep before my day begins?
5:01 a.m.: Who am I kidding? There is no way I will fall back asleep. Anxiety and excitement are coursing through my veins — time to get up and start my day off with devotions.
6:40 a.m.: Relief fills me as my three children and I are out the door on time for the first day; one on the bus ready to begin sixth grade and the younger two off to daycare. The hubby is gone on a business trip and unfortunately not there to calm my jittery nerves.
7:10 a.m.: Arrive at Worthington Christian School to discover many teachers already in the building. Obviously, they’re as anxious as I am about the beginning of a new year.
7:15 a.m.: Quick peek at my inbox to discover 23 new messages since I left home. Seeing no emergencies, I decide to table my replies until later.
7:35 a.m.: Meet with the staff for prayer before our day begins. What a blessing to be united in faith, working together to educate these covenant children whose parents have entrusted to our care. I look forward to prayer with the staff and know there is no other way I’d want to begin a new year.
7:41 a.m.: First student voices are heard entering the building. It’s time to head into the halls to start welcoming students and parents back to WCS.
7:52 a.m. First bus arrives. I grab my camera and head outside hoping to snap a few pictures of the day. How fun to see a kindergarten student full of excitement bound off the bus with her curls bouncing. I sense that she has been ready for this day for quite some time. The young man behind her has a glancing smile for me but clearly does not share the same enthusiasm. He is not a kindergartener, and I’m pretty sure he has other places he'd like to be.
8:01 a.m.: Second bus arrives. The last of our 66 students are arriving, and my anxieties are beginning to ease away. Everything is falling into place and starting to feel familiar again. I love that I can personally greet each student and am equally thrilled that many are willing to engage in conversation!
8:05 a.m.: Class begins, and I head to my office. Within a few minutes all is quiet as I settle behind my desk, and I find myself a bit lonely. I’ve missed the students and their parents. They are my second family and I want time to catch up, to hear about summer adventures, to laugh and share in the joy, to celebrate the beginning of a new year together. I’m a bit emotional, realizing the school year has officially begun. And what a year it will be … a year of working, playing and laughing together. A year of praying and growing together. A year that will be filled with trials and challenges, but a year that we will tackle together — as only a family would.
Lori Eekhoff is the principal at Worthington Christian School.