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Open House at Celebration K-8 School

When we first talked about moving, and I am talking YEARS ago, the ONE thing I was most worried about, was school. We can always find a better home, a better area, but the thing I had heard over and over again was how horrible the schools were in FL.  So what do you do with that information? Well, we researched, we asked others, and we prayed. Yes, we prayed. I believe that God won’t lead me into something I can’t handle, including school for my kids.  So we attended Open House for Emily tonight- here is how it went.

We arrived at the Main Office to pick up Emily’s schedule, a map, and the ins and outs paperwork. I was a bit concerned that we didn’t get a say in Emily’s classes at all, so I was hoping that she got classes that would challenge her and use her full potential. For her first semester, she has Advanced Math, Gym, Exploratory Wheel, Advanced Reading, Science, Language Arts, and World History. I would assume she has Art and Music next semester, but I am looking into it to make sure.

We took the time to find each class, which was very confusing at first. Keep in mind, the schools in WI are laid out differently, and 6th grade is still a “one-class” atmosphere in Appleton. Whereas here it is Middle School, which is a big deal in an 11 year olds eyes. The once safe feel of a constant classroom is replaced with moving every hour along with the stress of remembering where each class is located.  We wanted Emily to feel safe tonight, so we made sure to walk from her first hour to her seventh hour class.

Luckily, most of her classes were very close together, and close to the cafeteria, so the only hike for Emily will be heading to the Gym area. For some reason, it seems like it was built after the school was, because it is a ways off from everything else. Emily has to walk a covered sidewalk area, through a forest, and then to the gym and soccer fields area.  I am not going to lie, I am a bit nervous about the long walk to gym class. I know with time she will be fine, but thinking of her these first days doing that alone just terrifies me- I am going to have to find something to distract me this coming Monday.

We met all the teachers, and they were all very nice. The gym teacher was a bit off, but everyone else seemed very easy to talk to.  No new gym shoes needed, which I have bought for every grade for the past 6 years, so that was a nice thing to hear. The thing is, if she just dirties up her regular shoes she wears to school, then that one pair is going to be kaput after a month. I’m going to have to send her with another pair I think- they must have gym lockers. We met the gym teacher in the cafeteria so no one had to walk all the way out to the gym area, but it didn’t help to not see where the kids enter for their regular gym area.

Lockers are visible in the school, but they are not using them this year. Each child carries their backpack from class to class- with their notebooks and pens and pencils. It sounds like the books stay in the classrooms, unless they have to go home. We had to wait on picking up Emily’s backpack because we had heard about the kids using them in other years between classes. If there aren’t many books ever going home, she should have a light backpack and thus making it easier on her during the school day.

I remember watching “Beverly Hills 90210” in High School and thinking that their school looked like a College campus- now I know why. It must be the warm climates that have schools laid out like outlet malls- not your typical one building with several hallways. The school has hallways behind the main doors, where you can find several classrooms inside. Most of her classes were small, so not huge numbers- this I liked because she really likes to learn and when there are less kids, possibly less social issues.

We figured out where to drop off and pick her up, and as we had come to a place of peace with all of it, Emily’s tears started to fall.  At that moment I felt like the worse mother on the planet- was I hurting her by putting her in this school? She is so scared, and so am I, and I know the good Lord is on my side, but I have to let her face this on her own. I can only take her so far, but I feel like if I could I would hold her hand all day at school.

After a late dinner at our local Sizzler, we came home to indulge in mindless television. Emily seems to be doing fine, but I feel like I could crumble at any moment. Emily is my baby, and Kyra is always my strong one- to let my baby somewhere for 8 hours at a crack and have no clue how she is or what she is feeling is terrifying to me. I signed up for this, and I just have to find my strength next week, that’s all there is to it.  Kyra’s open house is tomorrow night, so again, please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers.  Have a great evening everyone.


  1. I know she will be great – in a few weeks she will be running around the school like a pro! When you get stressed about it, just remember the lessons Marlin learned and “Just Keep Swimming!”

    When my daughter was younger and was scared sometimes, we would choose something of mine for her to wear, like a necklace or bracelet. Every time she was worried, she would touch the necklace and remember that even though I wasn’t with her, I was thinking about her and praying for her to have a great time. She says that helped her a bunch.

    Hang in there!


  2. Oh Amy, I remember how scared I was to go to middle school….or jr. high as we called it then. I’m sure Emily will be just fine and feel at home in no time. New things are always scary for all of us at any age. I totally sympathize with your fear for her as a mom. I hate to think of my baby as being alone or scared of something. I want to take the experience for him so he doesn’t have to be afraid…and even for Allison, too, even tho she will be 18 in 4 days. Sometimes I think it is harder on us as parents than it is on them. I will continue to keep your entire family in my thoughts and prayers. I hope both of the girls fit in to a routine at their schools in no time and that you and Craig can as well. Hugs to you all.


  3. Amy,
    When John started High School I think we were just as “scared” as he was. He did a good job of hiding it behind teenage indifference, but he was worried. What you have to rememebr is the less you react, the less she will worry. Also, As a teacher, I would LOVE to teach in Cleebration, I have only ever heard great things about the school.
    Just remember, She and you have already faced the scariest moments of your lives by leaving everything behind and starting a new life. This will be nothing, it is school.


  4. Em, you are going to do terrific! I just know it! You are one of the coolest girls out there! I’ll be praying for you all on Monday (and leading up to Monday)! Love you all!


  5. You & Emily will be in our thoughts & prayers. I’m sure she’ll be fine. I think sometimes us as moms are more fearful of the changes than our own children.
    Our school district is sort of laid out similar. We have our middle school & high school in seperate buildings but share a walkway, cafeteria & auditorium. This year, starting in middle school up through high school our children will be receiving laptops. This scares me some but we have orientation tomorrow about it for Nicole. I went off track here-sorry..didn’t mean to! Anyway, I’m sure Emily will be very nervous the 1st week but it’ll go away & she’ll be perfectly fine. As for getting to the gym, she’ll get the hang of it..our kids are growing up to quick these days..seems like yesterday we were changing diapers, huh..good luck 🙂


  6. A thousand miles apart but similar situation. My daughter, 11, also starts 6th grade next month and she also will go to middle school. They do keep the 6th graders in their own wing here but still, 6th grade in middle school? My wife will also be dropping her off and picking her up. We are a bit lucky, my son went there and my wife used to work there so we at least have some familiarity. Good luck with this latest chapter of your fantastic move to Florida. I’m sure everything will work out. Kids do have a way of being resilient. It’s the parents that struggle. LOL


  7. Emily, you will do amazing! You have accomplished so much! You have already conquered a fear this summer by riding Test Track again! You and your family have a lot of people pulling for you. And I know how hard it is being the new kid, but after a few days, you will have new friends. 🙂


  8. As a parent, I feel your pain…truly. Having my child beginning pre-school thru beginning college…All caused me great anxiety. And I spent all those yrs as an educator myself! It helped me to always remember to treat every student as I would want my own child treated in school every day.
    I’m sure you are prepared that the first few weeks MAY be an adjustment period for Emily. I’m confident that time & routine will smooth those possible bumps.
    But I strongly suggest that you contact school in a few weeks, regardless of how Emily is doing, and request a Visitor’s Pass to spend time there while school is in session. Then, you can see how the student body & teachers spend a typical day. (For lots of kids in Middle School, what goes on in the cafe & hallways during passing is almost as important as class time).
    We will all be thinking of you, Emily & Kyra as you begin a WONDERFUL school year!!!


  9. I haven’t commented in a while but I really wanted to let you know that I truly believe your girls are going to do great in their new schools. If they are anything like you are, people will want to befriend them and support them. I will be thinking of your girls!


  10. Sounds like our big middle schools here in UK; timetables, classrooms, corridors, bags full of stuff! I’m sure it’s scary for you all but I’m sure Em knows that she can tell you if anything doesn’t start to fall into place after those first few days and you’ll all be so supportive.


  11. the system there sounds like the ‘normal’ system for UK schools. At 11 kids all move up to the Comprehensive school and suddenly they have to move, classes, have different teachers and carry all their books along side that a whole new set of subjects to learn. It is scary but the kids soon seem to settle -quicker that the Mums do. I am sure Emily will be fine and I agree with the others its best if we can hide our fears from them and act strong – even if we don’t
    Special thoughts that the first few days go well and Emily settles soon


    • This is just what I was going to say! I have strong memories of wandering around with a map, just like all the 1st years (as we were called then!) I’m sure Emily wont be the only newbie, our high schools take a mix from lots of junior schools, so there r lots of new faces, in a few weeks she will used to the routine & probably complaining about her homework! Lol Thinking of u all xx


  12. Sending prayers for both your kids. Hopefully everything will turn out just fine and they both will have a wonderfull school year.


  13. Hi! Going back to school after the summer was always tough, and I can just imagine going back after moving to a warm, Disney-fied place is going to be a challenge. But I’m sure Emily will do just fine after the adjustment period wears off. I never moved from my hometown, and spent every year in our schools but 6th grade did mean a new school for me and it was a rude awakening. Looking back, it wasn’t the best time I ever spent in school but I did learn a lot being independent and who my friend were. (I was used to this core circle from elementary school.) In the end, it will be very good for her to face this thing early because if and when it comes up again, she’ll be prepared 🙂 (like college).

    I guess I never thought of the anxiety my mother felt when we were starting school and changing grades. I feel like after reading your post and seeing your concerns, I should certainly give her a call tonight. You would be proud of the parent you are. Many of my friends are teachers and I hear horror stories of how parents hardly care about what their kids are doing in school. It’s frustrating and disappointing.

    Wishing you all the luck in the world! Again, loving you blog more & more with each post!


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