This morning was our Kindergarten Orientation. Many families walked into Joyner this morning, some for the first time. Eager faces. Nervous faces. Confident faces. Worried faces. I noticed tight holds on parents hands. I enjoyed the cell phones at the ready for pictures. And saw the fun of seeing perhaps a familiar face in the crowd.

As I prepared to move to the gym to begin the orientation, I ran into a fifth grader as he made his way back from breakfast. He asked me about what was happening. I shared with him that it was orientation. He began to smile with remembering the songs he sung five years ago to welcome new Kinders to Joyner. We had a moment of disbelief that we are preparing to say goodbye as he moves to middle school. As we parted for the day, we agreed that we would just enjoy this last month together and have fun thinking of all the memories made here.

What a great conversation to hold on to as I walked in front of our newest Joyner family members. I could speak confidently of the amazing place that Joyner is. I carried the fifth grader’s love of this space and his love for the many memories as I looked out to everyone sitting and knowing memories were about to be built.

Joyner is a special place. Having six years to watch and help children grow is a gift that elementary school gets to experience. We see these small little faces grow. We build relationships with families. What seems so overwhelming and unknown becomes so familiar it is like home.

Welcome to our newest Joyner family members. And I also am starting to prepare myself for the sweetly bitter moment of saying goodbye to our fifth graders.

Good thing we still have a month!