It’s going to be a great year

Published 9:40 pm Monday, September 4, 2017

Many students in private schools around the city already have been back at the books for a week or two, but for the vast majority of young people in Suffolk, today is the first day of a new school year. We wish them the very best as they shake off the lazy, hazy days of summer and set their minds on achieving academic success in this new season.

We devote this space today not to encouraging the students, but to encouraging the community that will need to support them throughout this new academic term.

To their parents, we say thanks in advance for perseverance in the face of the inevitable homework-avoidance offensive, whose tactics can have the feel and the effect of a household siege. We offer our moral support and our prayers — and most assuredly nothing more tangible than that — as parents struggle over kitchen tables around the city to dredge up long-forgotten mathematical principles in pursuit of helping their children wrestle with said homework.

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To their teachers, we offer our unqualified gratitude for the hard work that so often goes so far beyond simply imparting knowledge and grading tests. Teachers are role models and mediators, they are psychologists and schedulers, they are coaches and confidantes. It’s well known and widely understood that teachers are not sufficiently financially rewarded for their efforts. At the very least, we hope they’ll recognize the sincerity of our appreciation.

For their bus drivers, we have only an unmitigated sense of awe. Having spent our share of time in small vehicles with children numbered in single digits, we find the prospect of shutting ourselves into a long yellow tube traveling at 50 miles per hour down Route 58 with several dozen temperamental kids twice a day to be utterly terrifying. And those who would willingly subject themselves to this prospect are something only slightly shy of heroic. May God bless them all for their calm reserve.

For the other drivers sharing the road with those buses starting this morning, we ask for your patience, for your attention to the road — including sidewalks and front yards where children may be waiting — and for your careful and considerate driving, especially in these first days of school, when young children are just getting used to the idea of waiting safely for a school bus.

Back-to-school is a time that’s filled with anticipation and pregnant with potential. Each of us can play a role in helping students — whether they’re eager for the return to their studies or dreading it — to do everything possible to fulfill that potential. With your help, we can confidently predict that it’s going to be a great year.