Emotions run gamut in Laguna students as another school year


Mary A. Castillo

Summer’s end in Laguna is marked by the closing of the festival

grounds, the disappearance of the free trams and the three words that


spark anticipation in every school child: back to school.

As of this week, children with freshly sharpened pencils and new

backpacks returned to campuses that have changed much since they left

them in June. El Morro Elementary is still undergoing landscaping and


Thurston Middle and Top of the World Elementary schools are missing


“I don’t know too many parents who are seriously concerned about

the construction projects,” said Kirsten Thomas, president of the PTA

Council and mom to three returning students. “El Morro was really on

top of the safety issue so they know how to do it at the other


Thomas’ only worry about construction is how Lauren, her


seventh-grader, will handle toting sweaty gym clothes all day now

that the old gym building and its lockers are gone.

“Last year the trend was not to carry a backpack,” she said. “So I

wonder how they’ll deal with that.”

Overall emotions about returning to school ranged from enthusiasm

to dread and something in between.

“My high school student is frantically trying to finish his summer

homework that he had all summer to complete,” said Betsy Jenkins,


school board candidate.

In addition to reading three novels and reporting on them, as well

as studying five chapters of U.S. History, her son Christopher, 16,

also went through an intensive week of football training.

Otherwise Jenkins said that he’s excited to go back and see his

friends. She and her son spent the summer looking at colleges and

he’s determined to pull up his grades to the best of his ability. He

is also looking into SAT-prep courses to take in the spring.

However, children aren’t the only ones going back to school, so

are their parents.

“It’s hard to give up summer especially when we have to get up

early in the morning,” Thomas joked. “Most of the people I know are

trying to get as much beach time as possible.”

Ketta Brown, PTA president at Top of the World, is probably one of

the few parents who is really looking forward to the new school year.

Her youngest is excited about his first year in kindergarten.

“He’s excited about having his own backpack and especially his own

bus pass for the first time,” she said. “My eighth-grader is too cool

to care and my fifth-grader is a little more anxious about her last

year at Top of the World.”

However with all three children in school, Brown is optimistic

that she’ll have time dedicated to her PTA responsibilities and for

her work with the Friendship Shelter.

“School will make life a little easier for me because I’ll have

four hours to myself for the first time in years,” she said.

The bottom line for students and their parents is that it’s a

fresh start.

“The year is yours to make whatever it is that you want,” Jenkins