I always loved the first day of school.

The new clothes, reconnecting with friends, getting to know my teachers, finding out which new books I would get to read…it was almost as exciting as Christmas Day.

For my sports-loving, all-boy, talkative brother who would rather throw ride his bike through the neighborhood than read a magazine, the first day of school was more like having to go to the dentist. With ten cavities.

My parents faced the dichotomy of two very different children, as parents of multiple children often do. When my mother walked into my bedroom and said it was time to get up, I threw the comforter off and gave her a big smile. When she walked into my brother’s bedroom, it was more like bringing a zombie back to life.

Both of my parents were teachers for most of my childhood, so I’m sure those first days of school were also a mixed bag of emotions for them. While going back to work after having the summer off brought with it some dread, it was likely balanced by the joy of not having two rambunctious kids and their rambunctious friends running through the house at seemingly all hours. I’m sure many parents, regardless of whether they are teachers or not, can relate.

During my high school years, the first day of school brought a new kind of joy because I was attending a performing arts high school, Woodland High School in Cartersville. I was obsessed with musicals and choreography and singing and all of the beautiful aspects of performing arts. Now, with several productions a year and class after performing arts class filling my schedule, my lifelong love of the arts was becoming an all-encompassing way of life.

As a brand new school, we partnered with Pebblebrook High School to, in an essence, model our performing arts magnet program after theirs. We would attend workshops and the Governor’s Honors Program together, attend each other’s performances and share in our struggles and successes. This was a partnership that, for me, created some lifelong friendships and gave me the inspiration to work harder and be better. You can learn more about Pebblebrook’s world-renowned performing arts magnet on page 32.

I no longer get to have first days of school, but I am still inspired by the many students, teachers, programs and charities that make our community a wonderful place for lifelong learning.

After perusing these pages, I hope you will be, too.

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