Junior High Recognition…

It’s not every day you get to brag about a child…but today is that day for Hunter.

We got a letter in the mail shortly before school was out that Hunter would be receiving an award and invited us to attend the evening award ceremony at his school. It’s a mass letter and doesn’t inform you what they will be receiving. (He got the same letter last year where he received an academic award as well as a CTE award).

A couple days before the ceremony, the principal pulled him aside in the hallway asking if he would be attending. This was rather unusual and he came home from school that afternoon and shared he may be getting a bigger award than the previous year.

This was confirmed again when on the day of the ceremony they pulled him from his last hour class to learn how to properly pronounce his name.

Steve and I attended the ceremony and it was funny to see Hunter a little disappointed to learn they overlooked him for the first award which was awarded to all 4.0 students – which he is. A little later, he received an “Outstanding Student Award” (which is an amazing honor and leans heavy to girl recipients) and totally butchered saying his last name.

The very last award – MASA, Mesa Association of School Administrators – is the highest individual honor at the school and is presented to one 8th grade student every year (out of more than 400+ students). We know Hunter to be such a strong student leader and athlete so it was only slightly surprising when they announced Hunter’s name as the recipient of the award. (Which is why he didn’t get the first academic award they presented…and Hunter’s pronunciation help didn’t make much of a difference).

They had teachers/coaches/administrators share why they chose him as the recipient and here’s a few snippets:

“Hunter is a young man that exemplifies what it means to be a leader. His mind is always working and processing what the teacher is teaching and constantly demonstrates high motivation to do his personal best. He is one of the most responsible students, he is always on top of his assignments which means he’s ready to discuss, write or turn in projects on time. While some leaders are loud and make others bend to their will, that is not Hunter. He has a quiet way of leading. He possesses a fountain of knowledge and expertise well beyond his years. He waits for others to seek his knowledge and peers crowd around him to learn and ask questions. He always goes out of his way to help others and to bring light to our days and he always has a smile on his face. His contributions to thoughtful class discussions will be missed. Keep leading Hunter.”

I couldn’t agree more. As a 4.0 student – in all honors classes as well as three high school credits completed – he manages his school work without any intervention or complaints. On top of heavy academic studies, he’s also a determined athlete and has proven his dedication over and over again. He’s a force for good and I’m happy to get out of his way as he forges new paths into high school.

First and last day of school 2023…

As of today, summer vacation has officially started!

And as such – here are our traditional first and last day of school photos. We just had haircuts last week or else these kids would have been unrecognizable with their long mops of hair. I think Hunter wins the award for the biggest change this school year and Hallie wins the award for no change – including wearing the same shirt from the first day of school.

Testing season…

I’m sure many with children in elementary school can relate – but I’m not a huge fan of “testing season” at school. At the beginning of April, I got an email outlining the rest of Cannon’s testing dates. By the time I got this email, he had already completed all of his Spanish testing – which was considerable.

They basically spend a quarter of the school year testing and then celebrating that they completed another test. Cannon’s movie count this month is already quite high as some kids are further along in their testing than others due to absences and other issues.

Here’s the list of testing for one of my three elementary aged kids – and remember this does not include any of their STAMP testing (Spanish) or the social and emotional well-being surveys they take in school:

● April 4 and 6 – AASA Writing
● April 11 and 12 – AASA Fluency
● April 13 and 14 – AASA ELA Pt.1, AASA Math Pt.1
● April 20 and 21 – AASA ELA Pt. 2, AASA Math Pt. 2
● May 1 and 2 – Fastbridge (ELA, Math)
● Date to be determined – Fastbridge Fluency
● May 8 and 9 – School City (ELA, Math)

I’m not an educator by any means and I understand that testing is an important benchmark to identify the needs of students’ learning. But isn’t this a little excessive? There has been so much preparation for testing – then the test itself – and then the two day party they have after each test because the testing was so stressful.

I bet there were committees upon committees at the district level who determined all of these tests are necessary. But as a parent, I have to wonder if there’s a better way. Perhaps spread them out more? Don’t do as many?

I’m not sure, but I can see my younger kids are already starting to check out and they still have 10% of their learning days left this year. But their routines and rhythm of learning have been thrown off and they’re already talking like next week is the last week of school. Jokes on them – they’ve got another two weeks of testing! And then two weeks of parties.

Booster Mom…

When I was in college and taking all my advertising/marketing/graphic design classes, I had no idea the one job that would most perfectly execute all my skillsets would be unpaid…and it would take me 20 years to find it.

I am a booster mom, and it is more fun than any other work I’ve ever done!

When we got a new tennis coach this year, I sat down with him and he gave me a wishlist of items he would like help with: Match calendars, banners, yard signs, social media posts and apparel.

I was excited to help and I immediately got to work taking photos of the boys and girls varsity teams – this gave me all the pictures I would need for all the coach’s wishlist items.

We found a local business to sponsor these 12×18″ posters that were hung in every classroom and around campus, local businesses and in the homes of every player. (This is something our boys football and basketball teams have created in the past and we borrowed the idea).

In the past, all seniors have received a large (larger than life) banner on the courts – this year we extended it to the whole varsity team and it was a statement. Our courts are new and don’t have any branding so the banners were a welcome addition. At the end of the season each player gets to keep their banner – I have a feeling we’re going to use Hallie’s for a few fun pranks. 🙂

Borrowing again from our football and basketball programs, all the players received yard signs to show their participation in tennis.

Using photos from the photo shoot, I created different social media graphics the coach could post on all our channels every match day. I never knew what graphics he was going to use so it was a fun surprise when Hallie’s face would pop up on my instagram.

We decided on sweatshirts for all the girls. We gave everyone a blue sweatshirt and they could add an additional red if they wanted to. We ended up having a much colder season than we anticipated and these sweatshirts were worn nearly every match. I was at a boutique last fall and found a lady who did custom chain stitch embroidery. I gave her my handwriting “toros” and she sewed it on every sweatshirt and included their last name around the back neck. We got so many compliments on them – you better believe I got one in both colors for myself because I’ve got a couple more years of supporting the Toros.

We also printed parent shirts, and shirts for all the girls and boys teams, including athlete of the week shirts.

We’re coming up on the tail end of the season and I’ve got a couple more things I need to work on for the state tournament as well as the end of the year banquet – but I’ve had so much fun. I love graphic design and incorporating that into my kids’ interests/activities gives me so much joy. I love driving up to the school and seeing all the banners proudly hang on the courts, or seeing the calendars as I exit the gym after a volleyball game. Tennis has been well branded this season and the coach has already mentioned he’s excited Hallie has another year on the team – which means another year of my help. And Hunter’s future high school coach (next fall) is already making his wishlist!

First day of school 2022…part 2…

A few more pictures to start out our school year. (Hallie and I just sat down tonight and looked through all the old first day of school pictures and they are such a fun way to catalog time and personality!)

My elementary kids ride the bus to school, but every year on the first day of school, I take the kids so I can snag pictures with their friends.

And just because Hunter was going into 8th grade did not mean I was going to miss out on his picture before the bus came. One of the other mom’s saw me taking pictures and sent me a text asking if I could share it with her. Evidently her child wasn’t wanting her to walk out with him or come take any pictures. Hunter knows better than to make such a silly request! Lucky for me, Hunter actually enjoys taking pictures.