Yesterday was the academic banquet at my brother's school (and my old school). I wasn't expecting much from it really as it's usually just a meal and then them calling each student forward to get a certificate and medal. The only thing special about it is that it's a chance to visit the school I spent more than a decade in and see some of my old teachers again. This year was a bit different though because it's my brother's last year at the school. Between me, my sister, and my brother, someone in our family has been at that school since I started preschool roughly 18 years ago. Now my brother's graduating on Wednesday, and no one in my family (not even any of my cousins, which if we included cousins who went to the school it would be even more years) will be down there.
That made the night a lot more sentimental than it would have been of course, and I even felt a little sad about it all. I wasn't expecting, however, for the school to actually recognize that as well. At the end of the night, the principal (who is new this year and I don't know him at all) asked if he was forgetting anything, and my brother's current teacher who also taught me and my sister (he taught both my siblings multiple years and I was his first class ever) got up and said that he wanted to say something that wouldn't take too long. My brother was smiling at this point, and I think he'd been warned about what was coming and managed to keep it a secret. Anyway, the teacher said he wanted to acknowledge the families who had sent all of their kids to St. Bernard and who were no longer going to have a student there after this year. I think it was about four families all together. He asked everyone to stand, but my family stayed sitting except for my parents. (Everyone there knows how quiet most of my family is anyway.) It was really unexpected and also really sweet. The teacher thanked our parents for sending all of their children there and supporting the school. It was really nice.
I've been away from St. Bernard for so long now (six years) that I often forget how special and important it was in shaping my entire life. Of course, any school you go to for eleven years will do that, but St. Bernard really did make me into who I am. Sometimes I get dismissive about it, but times like that remind me why St. Bernard is such a special place. I get worried sometimes that the school won't last. There's never been a lot of money, and the amount of students can fluctuate. It makes me worried sometimes that the school will close. There are some great people there though. People who make the best environment they can with really limited resources, and I'm so glad I had those people in my life.
I honestly didn't mean to make this into a post about St. Bernard, but somehow that's what it turned into. I've had this blog since my sophomore year of high school, so I'd already left St. Bernard. Back then I wouldn't have written this post because my St. Bernard years were so sentimental to me that writing about them publicly felt like sharing an intimate part of me. It would have been like posing naked for the world. Now I've become more secure about sharing such things though, and I really think St. Bernard deserves at least one post here because of its importance in my life. I really wish that school all the best now that no one from my family will be down there. I hope it continues providing such an amazing place for kids long into the future.