At the end of the last day of school at the Forestdale School Tuesday, June 18, the building was filled with music, dancing, many smiles, and even a few tears.
At 12:39 PM, when the first wave of students was dismissed to go to the gymnasium where parents and guardians would pick them up, some of the children wore sunglasses and Hawaiian leis as they danced to Steam’s “Na Na Na Na Hey Hey-ey Goodbye.”
Even though education support professional Lisa Greene was practically skipping into the gym, where she would help make sure that students were going to the correct caregivers, she admitted her jovial demeanor was a facade.
“I’m actually sad,” she said.
Principal Christopher Dintino made a point to come to the gym to wish the students getting picked up a happy summer before he made his way to the front of the school to send off the bus riders for the year.
Once all of the school buses had arrived in the school’s bus loop, the remaining students were dismissed for the year by grade. Kindergarten was released first as Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” played through a speaker that had been set up outside.
All 10 kindergarten teachers and their classroom aides walked their students to their buses, giving hugs and high fives as they saw their charges off for the summer. Tears streamed down the reddened faces of some of these young students as they left the building for the summer break.
Bus driver Julie Tobey said that the last day of school felt a little bittersweet. Even though the students on her bus had gotten to a point where they were starting to get wild on the rides home, she said that she still loves them so much and will miss seeing them every day.
School aide Sally Jordan said it is always hard to send the students home for the summer, but that this year seemed to be harder on the students and teachers than in past years.
“I’ve never seen it this emotional,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing.”
Once all of the students had boarded their buses, the teachers and staff lined up along the bus loop. They did “the wave,” blew bubbles, and cheered as the buses started up.
As the buses drove around the bus loop, the students leaned out of the windows to wave goodbye to their teachers for the summer. The bus drivers honked their horns in celebration of the day.
Each bus did a second loop around the front of the school before pulling out of the school’s driveway and bringing the students home for their summer vacations.
While the skies had been gray for most of the morning, the rain did not start to fall until the last bus pulled away.
Closing out her first year as a Forestdale kindergarten teacher, Sarah Wudyka said she was going to miss her class very much.
“I literally woke up this morning already crying,” she said. “I give away a little piece of my heart every year.”