I suspected that if I waited until today I could get a photo to go with this story. And yes, one was uploaded just when I needed it!
Yesterday was Clare's muck-up day, the end of formal schooling with only the Higher School Certificate exams themselves to go. And so more than fourteen years' schooling comes to an end, starting from the point that Helen first entered the Montessori kindy in Armidale.
These last weeks have been a series of lasts and of farewells. The last hockey game. The year 12 student-teacher dinner, the year 12 chapel service and parents farewell. Now muck-up day.
The preparations were intense, running on and off for weeks with a special focus in the last week. Scripts had to be written, videos made, stunts planned, judgements made about what could or could not be said, costumes obtained.
In all this, we parents and especially those without younger children, have been gripped by a sadness. Greig Pickhaver commented on it early at a hockey match, and indeed it's true. We will be so thankful that we no longer have to struggle with school fees, but the school routine has been a central feature of life, one that I have enjoyed, for such a long time.
Yesterday I dropped Clare of at school at 6.30 so that she could help with the setting up. I then went to work for a while, before coming back to the school for the assembly run by the year 12's. This meant that I missed the official assembly farewell that had half the girls - and a number of parents! - in tears, but did at least get to see the girls' own production. Denise and Helen also came to see it, along with a number of Helen and Clare's friends with past connections with the school.
At the farewell chapel service, the head commented that this class had established a record for the number of detentions awarded, but had also evolved into one of the most creative group in the school's history. From experience, I think that both points are right.
This creativity was reflected in the assembly.
It was quite slick and funny for those who knew the school, mixing live skits with commentary and lots of short videos. There were a few spots where the assembled girls went into roars of laughter for reasons that escaped me, perhaps just as well. However, I know the school pretty well and so caught most of it, aided by the fact that for several weeks now Clare has been telling me about it or showing me things when I picked her up from school.
Clare produced three of the videos. Thanks to the miracles of modern authoring tools, they appear remarkably easy to produce, although I have yet to master the art. It is in fact easier at school, simply because they have all the software on hand.
And so this phase ends.