May 26, 2024
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May 26, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Ladies and gentleman it is time for the cliched graduation column. The good news is that this medium is of the written word, so you can feel free to skip over lines or paragraphs or the whole entire thing if that suits you. If this were Facebook, well, there would be collages of adorable little children in their nursery school graduation gowns, so adorable. Photos of kids getting ready for senior dinner, my hasn’t she grown up and well, just lots of photos of other people’s children reaching various milestones. Hooray Hooray. But, as I have arrogantly stated before, this is my column, this is about me.

There was a graduation column about son #1 last year and, God willing, there will be one next year about son #2 (middle children, always getting shortchanged). Bear in mind that it is son #3 who is graduating from elementary school. This is a big deal. My last child is leaving the safe confines of the place that helped mold and shape him. The place that taught him to read, taught him to write and taught him that being sent to the principal’s office is not always a good thing. It was within those walls that he made wonderful friends, learned a song that has all 50 states in it and gained the ability to do something that his beloved Rangers could not pull off this season (which is win a hockey championship, for those of you that missed that award-winning column). After this, the phrase “little kids little problems, big kids bigger problems” officially goes into effect. Though the phrase should really be “little kids almost reasonable tuition, big kids we can only afford to eat pasta for the next eight years tuition.” But it is an incredible milestone nonetheless. Husband #1 and I were founding families of this place that my three sons grew up in. In fact, if you ever go to this school and see the picture of the first graduating class, son #1 is the only one in the photo wearing slippers. A letter has been sent to the parents every year since that photo emphasizing that “your child should bring appropriate footwear for their graduation photo.” Yes, this family likes to leave its mark.

How did we start at this place? Our adventure began 14 years ago, when my friend Rochie was sending her son to a new school. I liked Rochie, son #1 liked her son, we all liked each other, so the decision was made. The new school it was. A lot has happened in 14 years and, on Sunday, son #3 will be graduating from this new school, which is not so new anymore. We know this because several schools have opened since this new school opened making it an old school. Not as old as the school I went to, but old is still not new. Profound, right?

Both joyfully and surprisingly, I never recall a day when any of my boys did not want to go to school. Though I can imagine that some of their teachers might have hoped that wouldn’t be the case. Yup, my boys had impeccable attendance records and if I had access, I would find out how many of my kids’ “favorite” teachers took the greatest amount of sick/vacation days depending on which of my perfect angels they had as students. But in the end, it has been a pretty good experience. And though I usually do not like to single out people in my pieces, I have to express my love and gratitude to Morah Esther Feil. Morah Esther has become the new face of this school as she is now in charge of admissions. And it is the perfect face for the job. It always has a smile, a kind word to say, a way of making you feel like you are the only person in the room. Imagine, if that is the effect she has on adults, what kind of magical spell she casts on the children. All of my boys were lucky enough to be under her guidance in early childhood. She knew them and all of the other children as well as she knew her own and you could tell. She was the pied piper, the kids just loved being around her and listening to her and learning from her and she still does that to them, just in a different capacity. Of course I am grateful to others in the school for what they have taught my boys, but Morah Esther was their first introduction to learning and to loving learning and for that I will always be grateful (it also doesn’t hurt that she is in the moms-of-only-boys-club—we ladies have to stick together).

Back to son #3. Congratulations on your graduation. Congratulations on surviving another year of being the youngest. Good luck with your next challenge. We know you will take high school head on and totally rock it, please God (please, please God). And to all of the other graduates, whether it be three-year-old nursery school or medical school—the best of luck to all of you!

Banji Ganchrow graduated Helen Alexander Nursery School and then went on to graduate from Yavneh, Frisch, Stern College for Women and others and the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Her parents are very proud, but are probably prouder of her brother because he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. What can you do?

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

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