I started the first day of school this year by getting in an early morning run, pounding the pavement at 5:30 a.m. In the distance I could see signs of storms that were brewing, being especially enamored with all the lightning I was seeing in the distance. Shortly upon returning home, the wind picked up and the skies began to darken. My attention quickly turned to getting the dog out to complete her morning routine before it started to rain (mission accomplished). Then, my thoughts immediately turned to those first day of school rituals that are so ingrained in our wonderful community. The first day of school pictures on the front porch. Walking the kids to school. Acting like you are allowing your kids to walk to school on their own, while you as parents are lurking behind them and watching their every move to make sure they made it to school safely. Regrettably, the badly needed rain was pounding down at just the wrong time and thus those first day rituals were put in jeopardy (shout out to some of my neighbors who did not let that stop them from getting the picture on the porch accomplished). Of course I also thought to myself, “Really? After everything that everyone has been through this past year and a half, this is the way we get to start the year?”

Then something great happened just an hour or so later. The rain stopped, and the sun came out. As I was walking over to Washington Elementary, I saw kids playing on the playground and heard their joyful voices as they played together. My wife says that is one of her favorite things to do; to walk past the playground and hear the voices of children at play. And as I passed through the schools on the first day of school, I saw and heard things that sounded and felt a lot more normal than the first day of school last year. This included seeing the copier repairman for the first of what will be many times this year. Maybe the first day of school this year serves as a metaphor for us for the new school year. We know there are storms we will still need to deal with, but the sun will eventually come out and life will continue to move toward being more normal.

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year, and thank you in advance for all you will do to make it a great year. Let’s remember to continue to listen to one another and to show a little grace toward others, even when we may disagree. Let’s keep our sense of what it means to be from Mount Vernon, and how lucky we are to be here to live and to grow. We are Mount Vernon!

Dr. B.