Start Of School Brings Fresh Rush Of En­ergy

Escalon Times - - FRONT PAGE - MARG JACK­SON

There’s noth­ing quite like the start of a new school year.

Now that it has been a few weeks, classes are in full swing through­out the Escalon Uni­fied School Dis­trict and there’s a fresh feel­ing in the air.

Of course, the ar­rival of wel­come lower tem­per­a­tures that ar­rived shortly af­ter the school bells rang doesn’t hurt ei­ther. I don’t ex­pect we will en­joy th­ese 80-de­gree days un­til win­ter but I am def­i­nitely en-

joy­ing them un­til sum­mer re­turns for its last gasp.

So this is also a good time to take stock and look at things done and those left un­done. Ad­mit­tedly there are some sto­ries I had planned to get to this sum­mer that haven’t come to pass yet – an up­date on the Escalon skatepark and a fea­ture with the new Ath­letic Di­rec­tor (Nate Bartelink) at Escalon High School spring im­me­di­ately to mind – I prom­ise those will get done; my goal is to have them both within the next cou­ple of weeks.

It’s not that I don’t want to do those sto­ries; it’s just that every week, some­thing else seems to de­mand my at­ten­tion. Yes, I agree it sounds like this is a ‘woe is me’ piece but truly, that’s not the in­tent.

Things just keep hap­pen­ing that are more timely and some sto­ries get pushed to the back of the line.

Just be­fore the start of the new school year, I was able to meet a new ad­min­is­tra­tor for the school dis­trict, the new as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal at the high school and the new as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal at Dent – all of whom also de­serve an in­di­vid­ual story but so far it has just been a cou­ple of quotes and a pic­ture for them. And the new teach­ers? I am glad to take their photo as al­ways but then I re­al­ized we lost a ton of long­time teach­ers who “grad­u­ated” to re­tire­ment at the end of the 2017-18 school year with­out so much as a men­tion in the pa­per. Great teach­ers, coaches … their sto­ries just got lost in the crush of yearend ac­tiv­i­ties and for that, I apol­o­gize.

On the bright side, even though my sum­mer ‘va­ca­tion’ this year was a cou­ple of brief respites when I got out of town for a cou­ple of days on two dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions, the new school year al­ways pro­vides me with a new rush of en­ergy and a re­newed en­thu­si­asm.

It is a joy to get back to the schools and re­con­nect with the kids, such as cov­er­ing the ‘red car­pet’ re­cep­tion for stu­dents re­turn­ing to Van Allen Ele­men­tary or get­ting a chance to see the fall sports teams back in ac­tion.

Fri­day nights, of course, re­quire a sec­ond wind to traipse up and down the foot­ball field lug­ging that big cam­era but it al­ways seems to ar­rive. Ac­cord­ing to my Fit­bit, the back and forth on the side­lines is usu­ally good for about two miles – which for me is about 5,000 steps.

The school dis­trict’ new Di­rec­tor of Stu­dent Ser­vices El­iz­a­beth Shep­herd has seen me about cam­pus quite a lot – she smiled and wel­comed me to vol­ley­ball as I was cov­er­ing the Lady Cougars last Thurs­day and she said it was ex­cit­ing to see the schools and sports in the pa­per each week. On the foot­ball side­lines Fri­day night, I heard a voice be­hind me and it was Shep­herd again, in­di­cat­ing she thought I must be the ‘En­er­gizer Bunny’ be­cause I just keep go­ing and go­ing.

And hon­estly, that’s the fun of it – there’s al­ways some­thing to be done, al­ways a story to write or a photo to take – it keeps me busy, out of trou­ble and ful­filled. Now if I just had time to get that skatepark up­date done…

Marg Jack­son is edi­tor of The Escalon Times, The Oak­dale Leader and The River­bank News. She may be reached at mjack­son@oak­dale­leader.com or by call­ing 847-3021.

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