Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dancing toward Chelsea's future

For a few yours last Friday night, I was Lemuel Gulliver - a stranger in a strange land.
Only Lilliput was the Chelsea School gym - site of the Crazy Sock Hop - and the Lilliputians were Chelsea kindergartners and first-graders.

I was a giant amid a sea of unfamiliar tiny faces that danced around me to strobe lights and pulsing music.

It was a new and unique experience.

Unique because I have been a part of the Chelsea School community for the past nine years, from my oldest child's kindergarten year to her pending transition to high school from our K-8 program.

I have known nearly all of the children from my daughter's eighth-grade class down through my son's third-grade group, either through their friendships or the children's participation in youth soccer where I have helped coach for the past seven years.

Somehow, I recognized, my status changed from being a "new Chelsea parent" to being an "old" one.

Suddenly I knew fewer and fewer of the families who were new to the school because I didn't have direct contact with them.

And their numbers have and continue to swell - which bodes well for our school and the future of our little town.

Chelsea launched its own "field of dreams" in September when it opened the doors to its amazing new school - a facility our town had strugged to obtain for about 15 years as the construction project inched up the list of state-funded projects.

It offered an optimum learning environment - with spacious classrooms, ample technology, a beautiful new library and a separate gym and cafeteria (no more gym-a-cafe-torium) - which our children, those who teach them and our community have deserved for far too long.

Gone were the portable classrooms with their cramped space and poor air quality.

Gone were the leaking roof, the septic system that froze up or otherwise failed on many occasions and the water supply that, on some days, didn't "supply."
Our students now have equal "amenities" possessed by other towns in our school union - although in a bright, airy, colorful and welcoming package.

More importantly, our school was designed with room to grow as our student enrollment follows suit.

That will happen - next week, next month, next year.

"If you build it, he will come," quotes the whispering Shoeless Joe Jackson character in Field of Dreams.

We have built it and they are coming.

The sound of laughter and little dancing feet tells me that it's so.

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