Letter At Length

Ashland schools have been great for kids

My second child, my baby, is graduating from fifth-grade this week. For him it's an exciting time full of wonderful accomplishments and the lure of what's to come. For me it's a melancholy, bittersweet time of realization that this particular chapter is coming to an end.

As I've pondered the fact that my sons are that old, (which means I'm that old!), I'm filled with much gratitude for the assistants, teachers, parents, principals, the superintendent and the community — all of your work and dedication have made elementary school wonderful. Both of my boys are products of Bellview School, kindergarten through fifth-grade.

Thanks to our community, they've experienced a rich, meaningful elementary school experience, even through budget cuts in education to the point of crisis. Because Ashland voters continue to generously pass local measures and the bonds to help fund our schools, kids have benefited from music, library, and PE with specialists, second language programs, outstanding athletics, current technology and my younger son got to spend his fifth-grade year in a beautiful, brand new building.

So, I want to take this time to thank all of you. Special, loving thanks to the teachers that specifically touched my sons' lives on a daily basis over the elementary school years: Mrs. Palmesano, Mr. Martin, Mrs. Gardener, Mrs. Luman, Mrs. Gates, Mr. Thacker, Ms. Hansen, Mrs. Pinder, Mr. Schmeling and Mrs. Murphy "… for the poignant memories, the nurturing care, the high expectations, the encouragement, the accountability, the patience, the joy and the outstanding preparation for the next chapters in their lives. I'm quite sure that I speak for many fifth-grade parents across the district and their schools and special teachers.

This week my baby will participate in his fifth-grade graduation ceremony, and as cliché as it sounds, it truly does feel like yesterday that he was walking into his first day of kindergarten and that his older brother, now a sophomore, did the same thing. My advice to all of you parents with young children out there: Get involved. Don't miss out on any of it! Help with room parties, field trips, reading groups and school events. The elementary school years are precious times and, trust me, they go by fast. Before you know it, you'll be like me, sitting in my folding chair in the Bellview gym at fifth-grade graduation again, this time for the last time, smiling and trying not to cry too hard.

Ingrid Hansen


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