Rochester Public School students have been working hard and learning all year long, and on Thursday they were rewarded for all of their efforts: Summer vacation has finally come!
Photographer Chuck Sibley and I made our rounds to three different schools on Thursday (Gage Elementary, John Adams Middle School, and Mayo High School), just in time to see the kids run out the doors into their summer vacations!
Just as the seasons come and go, so does the school year.
"I like the break. It's a mental break. It's super nice actually,” said Aaron McKinley, who wrapped up his freshman year of high school at Mayo on Thursday.
"It's always hard to let them go,” said Julie Ailts, a First Grade STEM Teacher at Gage Elementary.
Summer break is notorious for a time to have fun.
"Go to the Kahler and swim. Or go to Zumbrota. Well, not in Rochester, but go to Zumbrota on the lake and what not, that's fun to do," said McKinley.
The weather is gorgeous.
"I go on water slides, splash some water, and hmm...go to the park. Have some fun, and see my friends and play a little game called hide and seek," said Jamarius Robert, who just finished up fifth grade at Gage Elementary and will be attending Bamber Valley Middle School next year.
Summer is the perfect time to relax and catch up on that much-needed rest.
For example, I asked some middle schoolers the following: “So tomorrow morning, you're going to get up. What are you going to do instead of going to school?”
"Go back to sleep!” said Maddie Marshall, who is just ending her 6th grade year at John Adams Middle School.
"Yeah, sleep in!” agreed Ashley Nguyen, who's also ending her 6th grade year at John Adams.
"Yep. Sleep!” chimed in Mireya Lopez, who, like Marshall and Nguyen, is ending her 6th grade year at John Adams.
The end of the school year is also the perfect time for some reflection on lessons learned and friendships created.
"You can meet a lot of new people and don't be afraid to make new friends. Because I met Ashley this year," said Marshall.
As well as how to navigate a new territory.
"You get more freedom here than at Willow. Because I came from Willow from 8th grade. And the atmosphere is really nice because nice people to each other and what not," said McKinley.
Though it's always sad to say goodbye, it's just the way of life.
"I look forward to it because it's fun to see where they're going, but I get sad because they become part of your family all year and you get to watch them grow from the very beginning to the end," said Ailts.
As the door to hard work has now come to a close, the door to freedom has just opened.
Graduation Day for seniors will be Saturday, June 10th at the Mayo Civic Center.
Century High School will be having their ceremony at 11 a.m.; John Marshall will have their ceremony at 3 p.m.; and Mayo High School will have their ceremony at 7 p.m.
Looking way ahead, the first day of classes for Rochester Public Schools for the 2017 - 2018 school year is set for September 5th.