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From the Principal’s Pen ~ June 2019

Submitted by: Jennifer McGee

I annoy my whole family.  No matter the occasion, I always have a camera out and ready.  “Everyone look this way.”   “Smile.”  It annoys them.

It’s not a cell phone thing, because I carried a camera, old school, the entire time I was raising my children. When my children were little,  I was always trotting off to Rite Aid or Elm City Photo to have my photos developed. It wasn’t until they were older when “one hour developing” became a thing…and that was very exciting. Otherwise, after a few days I would go back and pick up my photos.  There was no way to know if a picture “came out” until you pulled it out of the envelope and held it in your hand. I was always lucky to get a few good ones out of a roll of 12 or 24 pictures.

My mother was the same way when I was growing up.  She had a  Brownie Hawkeye camera, and she captured all of the moments…Christmases, birthdays, first days of school…all of those blurry pictures are tucked into photo albums, giving me a visual timeline of my childhood. I  frequently am not sure if I really have a memory of those events,  or is it the pictures fooling me into thinking I remember something.

I went for a walk the other night with my husband. It was such a beautiful evening. Finally, the chill of winter was feeling like a distant memory, and the grass was a thousand different colors of green. My dog was walking next to my husband, and I pulled out my camera. I just wanted to capture that perfectly lovely moment…when all seemed well in the world.

One of my best friends lost her father last month. She had to travel to Florida to pack up his house. It was a ton of work for her and she was all alone. In the middle of the frantic packing, throwing, donating she was doing, she just took a moment and stopped and poured through his photographs. What she discovered was that his whole life had been captured in pictures, and when she took the time to pause and put things in time order, she could see and hold all of the moments of his 90 years. His life story was told in pictures. She was so grateful for those photographs that someone had taken the time to capture.

On Wednesday, June 19, it’s our last day of school for the 2018-19 school year. That morning at 9:00, we will have our final Town Meeting of the school year and we will have our Atwood Slide Show. This slide show has become an important tradition for us. We take the time to look at and remember, all of the wonderful events we have experienced together throughout the school year. If you are able, we invite you to come and watch it with us.

Every year, as we enjoy the slide show, with all of the children, together, in our gym, I am moved to tears. I often think “I  won’t cry, I won’t cry….this year, I won’t cry”, but I have never once gotten through it without tears. There are so many reasons for this.

One of the strongest reasons is that I bear witness, through the pictures, of the growth of your children.   As the photos pass by, I remember when they first arrived at school…their dependence on adults for, well …everything.  Opening their milk cartons, holding their trays, zipping their coats, putting on their shoes, finding their way around the building….

And by the end of the video, the children are all so independent and self-confident. They are taller. They have missing teeth. They have new teeth. They are readers. They are writers.

They are mathematicians.  They are artists. They are athletes.  They are musicians and technology wizards.  They know the building, and all of the people in the building, like the backs of their hands.

And I remember the hard lessons. The arguments they have had with friends. The falls and bumps they have had on the playground.  The times they were sent to the office.  Their real sicknesses and, on occasion, their fake sicknesses, when they decide they want an afternoon off.  All of those memories are streaming during our end of the year slide show.

And so, yes, I always cry at the end of the slide show. But they are happy tears:  tears celebrating the fact that in my job, I get to be part of your journey and your child’s journey through public education.  Beginning your child’s educational pathway, with all of you, is the absolute best part of everyone’s job at Atwood Primary School.  When they leave us, at the end of grade two, we all feel a part of what they become when they march through our hallways right before they graduate from Messalonskee High School.  As they don their caps and gowns, we get to say, “we were part of that!” and that is rewarding.

As I sit here in my office, typing this, I am surrounded by photographs of my own children (now all adults) when they were the ages of the children here at Atwood. It reminds me daily of how quickly the years go by. Keep taking your pictures. Keep documenting the lives of your children, no matter how annoying they may find it….they will thank you one day.

Thank you for allowing us to be part of your children’s history.

Educationally Yours,

Jennifer McGee, Principal of the Atwood Primary School



Thursday, May 21: Noon (12:00) Release for Inservice

Monday, May 27: NO SCHOOL/ Memorial Day

Wednesday, June 12: Field Day/ Raindate:  Friday, June 14

Friday, June 14:  ATWOOD CARNIVAL:  12:30 to 2:30 YOU ARE INVITED TO ATTEND

Wednesday, June 19:  Final Day of School…. 9:00 Slide Show/ Noon (12:00) Release

And beginning June 20….SUMMER VACATION!!!


Coming Events at Atwood Primary