Last Friday as the sun set behind the Verdugo Mountains which tower over the baseball diamond at Stengel Field, a door closed. A long and storied season officially ended for my family. After 24 continuous years, we no longer have a child in the Glendale Unified School District. I’m sure that, the rooted nature of Crescenta Valley residents being what it is, some families can claim a longer continuous association. But to me at least, 24 years seems like a long time to be so intimately connected with an institution that affects a family’s present and future in so many ways.
And that’s not counting the years that my wife and I spent in the GUSD during our own education here all those years ago – from my own educational beginnings at Monte Vista, then Rosemont and Crescenta Valley, or my wife’s journey from Valley View to Clark to CVHS.
As I sat in the grandstands listening to the almost 800 names of CV graduates called forward to receive their diplomas last week, I thought about how this new stage of our life is going to take more than a little getting used to. Especially since – for the past nearly 14 years – I’ve been self-employed and worked primarily from a home office. That has meant our kids had both Dad and Mom to take them to school and pick them up. With rare exception, we both showed up at games, or choir and orchestra concerts. Halloween parades, annual school carnivals, any team game that one of our kids was involved in was also prominently entered and circled on our family calendar. Not to be missed. Period.
My wife and I both were able to volunteer for Monty Lane duty, putting our lives and anger-control in imminent danger of being mowed down by groggy, coffee-toting, breakfast-eating, SUV-driving parents dropping off their progeny and far too often flouting the laws of traffic, physics and common sense. If it involved school and our kids, it involved us.
Honestly, it’s just a little hard to believe that all the concerts, assemblies, fundraisers, open houses, teacher conferences, field trip permission forms, gift-wrap sales, yearbook signings, PTA membership drives, sack lunches, dinner-interrupting robo-calls, banking days, student-free days, drop-off zones, SAT tests, AP tests, STAR tests, morning and afternoon traffic jams, and cookie dough sales are over.
Most likely there won’t be another generation of my family to attend the Glendale Unified School District. It seems as though – following their old man’s advice – my kids are pulling up stakes and living elsewhere. Which means that present and future grandkids will be raised (and go to school) in other parts of the country, too.
And yet, although we now no longer have a direct connection with the GUSD, as lifelong residents likely to remain here for the immediate future at least, we still have a vested interest in the health and success of the school district that has served our family well for the past nearly two-and-a-half decades. It will, of course, continue to educate the children of our greater community – kids we share a neighborhood with.
To be sure, I’ve had more than a few philosophical and political bones to pick with the district’s growing political correctness and left-directed agenda over the years. But that’s the nature of secular education throughout America. Our kids have undoubtedly received some of the best public education available anywhere. And frankly, the ever-present secular agenda has only reinforced our responsibility and determination as parents to stay fully aware, involved and active in the moral and spiritual development of our kids.
For that and more, my wife and I (and our kids) owe a huge debt of gratitude to the GUSD administrators, faculty and staff who have impacted our kids and our family throughout their primary education.
Thank you and I’ll see you ‘round town.
Jim Chase is an award-winning advertising copywriter and lifetime CV resident. Find him online at www.wordchaser.com.