By Donlyn Aiken
Parent, Upper School Assistant
Welcome back! Welcome back to Homecoming! As someone who has not gone back to any (of my own high school’s) homecoming events – does my high school even do homecoming? – it is so cool to see graduates come back to Spartanburg Day School.
As a parent, it’s reassuring to see that students you once watched play in the band or sing in the chorus, play on a field or on a court are doing OK. College was challenging, fun, a success, but they were prepared. You breathe a sigh of relief that, hopefully, your child will do the same.
I have watched – for two-and-a-half years – one of my children do that. She has gone away from home to Europe and the Big City and has been OK. There have definitely been text messages late at night, IN ALL CAPS, about problems with roommates, stress about too many things due at the same time, etc. But she knows she has a home in me; I’ll listen and text back in the morning.
She also has another home, her Spartanburg Day School home. Her classmates are there for her during break, on trips to see each other, and of course Facebook Messenger. Her teachers are still a resource for her, and she is now a resource for them. As an environmental science major, she spoke with Mrs. Webster’s class about waste management, internships and what she studies in her major. Zero waste!
When I asked her how she thinks the Day School prepared her for University, this is what she texted:
“Leadership Opportunities – captain of sports team, working service chair and ASTRA 5K committee, editor-in-chief of the yearbook. Rallying people, reaching out to the communities, student power on a small scale = confidence to make change and understand that it is possible at a much larger school.”
These Day School positives have helped her get involved and be involved at a large campus. The design skills Mrs. Mitchell and the yearbook taught her helped her get part time jobs for spending cash and a paid summer internship. Other time she has told me that Dr. Fisher’s class prepared her for the type of writing required in this or that college course, and she continues to study math because of the love of numbers Ms. Tobey encouraged in her. (Thank you!)
Now for my Day School senior. When I pause and look carefully at all he has done at Spartanburg Day School, I am amazed. He has stuck with band for all seven years. I am sure that his double bass instructor in elementary school would be surprised. He not only has stuck with it, he has gotten up two or three mornings a week and gone to school at 7 a.m. to be part of Jazz Band. He has joined Pep Band and played for the basketball games, been part of ensembles at mentorship breakfasts and other events around town. I see how strong the band home is as graduates come back to visit Mr. Barnes, play for graduation and join in on one of the many game nights. Thanks, Mr. Barnes!
Sports have been a great experience for him just like his sister – leadership opportunity, learning to work as and with a team, learning discipline and responsibility. Thanks for “coaching everything,” Coach Wilson.
Looking at one of his college essays he wrote:
“This pride and value I place on my well-roundedness…”
I love this. I love that he feels well-rounded. Spartanburg Day School has been a great home for him to develop into a well-rounded young man – an artist, an athlete and a scholar (well, smart kid).
It takes a village to raise a child, it’s true. Within that village are many homes where my children can come home. I am so gratefully that one of them is Spartanburg Day School.