The end of the summer break for students also marks the first day of the last year in school for thousands of high school seniors.
But the milestone makes for a banner day at Islands High.
An impromptu parental pep rally in front of Whitemarsh Island’s only high school is staged before the first bell of the new school year rings. Parents carried signs with photos of their senior for their final first day of a new school year in high school.
Islands Principal Kerry Coursey says this first-day tradition keeps the pangs of a looming empty nest at bay for some parents because of “all of the excitement… all of the energy.”
It’s still a bittersweet moment for parents like Reggie Mitchell and Shelly McCord, remembering the final summer vacation from high school.
“I wasn’t ready for it to be over because it starts her senior year and then that’s going to be over real quick,” McCord said. “It was kind of surreal because we knew that it was the last time that we could do something as a family before she gets ready to go off to college…or start her life as an adult, so we just spent as much time as we could together.”
Seniors journeys through public schools, Pre-K through 12th grade, are plastered across posters carried by many parents. Images that remind them of just how fleeting this coming school year will be.
Paul O’Connell says he plans not to waste a single moment. “You know, I’m gonna take advantage of every minute that I can with her because time does fly by so fast,” he said.
The benchmark of the first day of the last year in high school brings a flood of memories and emotion for Aeysha McKinney, as her son is on pace to become the first of her children to graduate.
“I was teary this morning, you know, my baby, this is my baby last year. He’s gonna be a grown man….it just an emotional moment for me, you know,” McKinney said clinging to a poster with her son’s baby pics and senior photo.
It’s emotional for some seniors too.
Diamond Garvin shared her trepidation about this pivotal moment in the lives of high school seniors.
“It’s kind of scary because you know, you’re walking in the door being an adult. It’s kind of scary,” Diamond said, smiling as she reassured herself she can get through it.
Diamond and all the members of the Class of 2019 are hoping to shine in this new school year. In Chatham County, it will come to an end for seniors in May 2019.