1. Coach Sciambra’s P.E. class was the highlight of your day.
From the opening week with Mission Impossible, to Steal the Bacon, to running (or walking in my case) around the track collecting popsicle sticks — something exciting was always going on in the gym. We all remember trying not to cry when on those scooters that crushed your fingers. Let us never forget the coveted day when you were gifted with precious gym lockers and the glorious privilege of dressing out for P.E. Through it all, though, nothing ever compared to when you would make the trek over to Keller’s Bakery for a sweet prize for your good behavior.
2. You got sent to Dr. B’s office at least once.
Maybe you got caught trying to trying to escape aftercare. Or possibly you fought another student for a chair in class. You might have licked a CheezIt and tried to give it to another student to eat (this major offense almost cost you your role in the seventh grade musical). Most likely though, you got caught watching iCarly off your iPod Touch in the back of your fourth grade classroom. No matter why you went, you cried the whole walk there and back.
3. You took school field trips to faraway lands.
Few things can bond a fifth grade class like strolling through the likes of Capitol Hill and Amish Country side by side. Eighth grade classes will have memories for a lifetime from their tours through Boston’s cobble roads or being let loose in Salem. More recently, you went jumping off four story waterfalls, rappelling down cliffsides, or squeezing in between boulders with your favorite teachers. Maybe you even learned how to properly relieve yourself on a hill (that you later fell down) on a pitstop of your 14mile kayak adventure. Then, on your college trip you were granted (almost) free reign of college towns, to experience what liberation your future holds, only to get kicked out of P.F. Chang’s for lighting the table on fire. These “study tours” were more like vacations with all of your best friends, with a few educational excuses thrown in. It is safe to say that we learned just as much about academics as we did about friendship from traveling and exploring together.
4. You perfected and performed an elaborate musical production every year.
These sorts of theatrical masterpieces were not for the faint of heart, despite the cast being made entirely of very fragile elementary kids. It took months of competitive auditions, demanding rehearsals, and creating sets. Each pupil memorized songs and mastered choreography. Whether it was “Fifty Nifty,” “Louisiana Day,” or “Leader of the Pack,” you gave it your all. The whole school would watch and you were feeling like this was your huge Broadway break. You were the best letter “E” that crowd had ever seen.
5. You can recite the entire Eucharist service on command.
If you have been a Blue Gator since 1st grade, you have attended over 200 Eucharist services. Throughout that time spent in chapel, whether it be in the arc of River Ranch, behind the beautiful stained glass and red doors of Downtown, or in the multipurpose gym at Sugar Mill Pond, you were learning about God’s word. After the first 20 services, you probably began to pick up the key phrases and by now you are pretty confident you could perform the breaking of the bread in your sleep and will be able to for the rest of your life. Oh, and let us never forget the School Prayer revision of 2010 that shook everyone’s whole world. Most importantly, you know that the classic “I’ve Been Thinkin’” tune deserves a Grammy.
6. Waiting all year long for field day.
From the humongous inflatable ball race to the water balloons, field day was the greatest way to announce that the stressful third grade year was finally over and summer was yours. For some, it was as competitive as the Olympic trials and you needed to get every ribbon. For others, you used whatever energy you had left over from the draining school year and killed time until the popsicles.
7. Knowing every one of your classmates (and everything about them).
You could name everyone in your grade. And their parents. And their grandparents. And their pets. You know all of their birthdays, their biggest dreams in life and tons of their embarrassing moments. You lived and survived the most awkward growing pains by their side. You probably didn’t think through that you would be going to high school with all these people, so you middle school “dated” them on the playground. Then, of course, you had to hug them goodbye in the stairwell in between classes so you didn’t get in trouble! Your parents probably loved one of your classmates back then and have been trying to get you to date them ever since. All of their parents remember you in diapers and treat you like their own child.
8. Mr. Jeff and Charles Hines feel like your comforting uncles that never miss a family event.
Mr. Jeff has been taking taking care of anything you need for longer than you can remember. He taught you how to serve and love with incredible joy. Mr. Hines showed you what it means to be consistent and reliable. He has never missed any of your major events and always captured your special moments since you were in River Ranch. On that note, Coach Dardar, Mrs. Monica, Coach Sciambra and the Walkers feel like a few extra sets of parents who always have your back.
Whether you have been at Ascension for as long as you can remember, or you are a new addition to the Gator family, you will become quickly immersed in the culture and traditions that make Ascension unique. There are few places that create environments for students to be feel completely known and accepted. The upbringing that comes with being a Gator provides lessons, memories, and experiences that compare to none other.