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Starting school too soon shortening summer for students

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My nephew Isaac’s T-ball game had to be rescheduled last Thursday because he and most of his 5-year-old teammates had an important event to attend — their kindergarten open house.

Of course, meeting your teacher is quite the momentous milestone, but is it just me or has anyone else noticed it is still July, for goodness sake?

Center Grove and Clark-Pleasant schools’ first day of classes is Tuesday, Edinburgh has Friday at its first student day, Greenwood schools begin Aug. 5, and Franklin schools begin Aug. 6 (new teacher orientation is Friday).

Let’s put this into a proper perspective. On Tuesday, when some of our Whiteland and Center Grove students are wiggling in their desks during a full day of class, they won’t get to experience what a child in 1950 did. Some young child, who was not in school on July 29, 1950, got to witness Pee Wee Reese hit the 3,000th Dodgers home run.

If that doesn’t make you reconsider early school starts invading summer, consider the global ramifications of sending our children to school on International Tiger Day. Don’t get mad at me, I’m just posing the question: Can our students really focus on school and properly raise public awareness for tiger conservation?

I realize that it’s too late to change the calendar this year, and Tiger Day was only introduced in 2010 at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit, but it’s definitely a quandary.

I couldn’t find my diary to look up what I was doing during the 1970s on Aug. 1 to 6, when Edinburgh, Greenwood and Franklin students start school, but I can guess that I spent part of the day jumping off the diving boards at the Greenwood City Pool, competitively playing kickball on Rose Lane with all the neighborhood kids and lazily snapping beans into a bowl that mom would cook for dinner that evening.

By the time summer ended, I had read nearly half the books in the Greenwood Public Library and was so bored I was excited and ready to go back to school. I hope we’re not stealing that feeling away from today’s children.

It’s still quite interesting that many Northern states, including most Wisconsin schools, don’t start until after Labor Day in September.

Meanwhile, I’m going to go cheer on some T-ball players while they’re still outside.

Janet Hommel Mangas, the third of seven children, grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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