There’s nothing quite like the start of a new school year.
Now that it has been a few weeks, classes are in full swing throughout the Escalon Unified School District and there’s a fresh feeling in the air.
Of course, the arrival of welcome lower temperatures that arrived shortly after the school bells rang doesn’t hurt either. I don’t expect we will enjoy these 80-degree days until winter but I am definitely enjoying them until summer returns for its last gasp.
So this is also a good time to take stock and look at things done and those left undone. Admittedly there are some stories I had planned to get to this summer that haven’t come to pass yet – an update on the Escalon skatepark and a feature with the new Athletic Director (Nate Bartelink) at Escalon High School spring immediately to mind – I promise those will get done; my goal is to have them both within the next couple of weeks.
It’s not that I don’t want to do those stories; it’s just that every week, something else seems to demand my attention. Yes, I agree it sounds like this is a ‘woe is me’ piece but truly, that’s not the intent.
Things just keep happening that are more timely and some stories get pushed to the back of the line.
Just before the start of the new school year, I was able to meet a new administrator for the school district, the new assistant principal at the high school and the new assistant principal at Dent – all of whom also deserve an individual story but so far it has just been a couple of quotes and a picture for them. And the new teachers? I am glad to take their photo as always but then I realized we lost a ton of longtime teachers who “graduated” to retirement at the end of the 2017-18 school year without so much as a mention in the paper. Great teachers, coaches … their stories just got lost in the crush of year-end activities and for that, I apologize.
On the bright side, even though my summer ‘vacation’ this year was a couple of brief respites when I got out of town for a couple of days on two different occasions, the new school year always provides me with a new rush of energy and a renewed enthusiasm.
It is a joy to get back to the schools and reconnect with the kids, such as covering the ‘red carpet’ reception for students returning to Van Allen Elementary or getting a chance to see the fall sports teams back in action.
Friday nights, of course, require a second wind to traipse up and down the football field lugging that big camera but it always seems to arrive. According to my Fitbit, the back and forth on the sidelines is usually good for about two miles – which for me is about 5,000 steps.
The school district’ new Director of Student Services Elizabeth Shepherd has seen me about campus quite a lot – she smiled and welcomed me to volleyball as I was covering the Lady Cougars last Thursday and she said it was exciting to see the schools and sports in the paper each week. On the football sidelines Friday night, I heard a voice behind me and it was Shepherd again, indicating she thought I must be the ‘Energizer Bunny’ because I just keep going and going.
And honestly, that’s the fun of it – there’s always something to be done, always a story to write or a photo to take – it keeps me busy, out of trouble and fulfilled. Now if I just had time to get that skatepark update done…
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.