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Final Stretch Before School

School is nearly back in session, and with it the social calendar is about to become much more complex. Summer vacations are over, school supplies are purchased, and kids are getting those final sleep-in sessions before alarm clocks buzz for the foreseeable future.

While the end of summer and loss of freedom that comes with it is mourned by kids, the dirty little secret is that the same can be said for teachers. I know, because both of my parents were public school teachers, I witnessed firsthand the behind-closed-doors celebrations. They watch the clock tick down to that last bell as much as the kids do.

There is a certain excitement that comes with the return of the school year however, beyond parents rejoicing in the kids getting out of the house for a chunk of the day. The end of summer signals the return of school athletics, concerts, field trips, class projects, plays, fundraisers, and extra-curricular activities. It also means tests, studying, the drudgery of homework, early morning wake-up calls and the inevitable panic for the senior classes as they begin to contemplate post-high school plans.

This is not to say that the summer has been a time of stagnation or inactivity, quite the contrary. Between summer jobs, 4-H, FFA, junior rodeo, swim teams, chores, summer reading programs, community service and sports training camps, the return of seven hours of school per day is perhaps a welcome respite from the relentless slate of summer activities.

I often laugh when I hear people complain or make assumptions about how there is nothing to do in Lake County. They clearly haven’t witnessed the madcap whirlwind involved in simply trying to cover the seemingly endless flurry of daily activities throughout the county for this fine publication. If summer was supposed to be a break from it all, then keeping up once school resumes may necessitate a clone or two. How parents ever manage to balance work with raising a family and school-related activities is beyond my comprehension.

What may have felt like an eternity of free time back in June has now dwindled to mere days until school bells ring once more. There are lessons to be planned, athletics to play, tests to prepare and textbooks to abuse.

One final grand celebration of summer is coming first though, the Lake County Fair and Round-Up, one last hurrah before the school year returns. The ironically-titled Labor Day holiday is considered the final celebration of summer, a day of rest to barbecue and soak up the sun before the return of work and school.

There is a famous quote often paraphrased with origins traced to either the Greek philosopher Epicurus, bible quotes from the book of Isaiah and

Corinthians, or more recently a popular Dave Matthews song, that reads something to the effect of, “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” While hopefully not taken literally, it certainly rings true to this time of year. The Lake County Fair, Round-Up, and Labor Day weekend are the last morsels of summer, a chance to celebrate endings and new beginnings.

Summer is almost over, the school year is nearly here. Cheers to the next adventure; but first let us eat fried bread, drink lemonade and be on merry-go-rounds, for tomorrow summer dies. Welcome back, students.

— Kurt Liedtke

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