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NICHOLAS MERCER: Reflecting on a year

June 28 marks the end of this school year. That means kindergarten students like, from left, Sammie Fitzgerald, Nathan Renouf and Ryder Webster will be moving to Grade 1 in September.
June 28 marks the end of this school year. That means kindergarten students like, from left, Sammie Fitzgerald, Nathan Renouf and Ryder Webster will be moving to Grade 1 in September. - Nicholas Mercer

It is the Sacred Heart Elementary sports day and Jubilee Field in Corner Brook is a melting pot of energy.

Students are amassed in the bleachers behind home plate, hanging from the bars in both dugouts, along both foul lines and even in the space between the third baseline and the pitcher’s mound.

In one corner of the field a pair of primary students shout along with Smash Mouth’s only hit, "All Star," while some bounce on large rubber balls toward a finish line. 

Just beyond the fence along the first base side and sitting on a picnic table covered in the yellow pollen from a nearby maple tree are a trio of kindergarteners.

They are there to talk with me about everything they learned during their first full year of book learning.

With a big smile and enthusiastically pressing his thumb to his chest, one student gives his full name. It's Nathan Renouf and before long he is showing me actions from the recent kindergarten graduation.

Stepping off the bench, he balls his hands into a fist and throws toward the sky. He starts pumping them and making noise with his mouth.

While Nathan is doing this, Ryder Webster is high stepping around the picnic table and blowing an imaginary trumpet. 

I’m not sure how accurate this action is, but it's fun to watch and a fine illustration of how excited the trio are to head to Grade 1 next fall.

“(We’re excited) because Ms. Payne’s our teacher and who knows?” said Sammie Fitzgerald, although there is no guarantee they’ll reach their treasured destination.

Apparently, there is the belief that Ms. Chrissy Payne will let them eat junk food the entire year and do their hair. That’s all hearsay, but it's fun to imagine.

Kindergarten is a big year. It is a student’s first full year of school, allows them to make new friends and teaches them all sorts of things.

They learn the alphabet, become familiar with numbers, learn to interact with others and get acquainted with some early science.

The lifecycle is one of those items of science that kindergartners get a handle on during the year.

It's also the answer Sammie and Nathan gave when asked what they most enjoyed learning this year.

Ryder had something else to offer. He’s a physical activity enthusiast and loves gym class.

The biggest lesson he took from this school year was learning to “climb really high things and jump off really high things.”

A buzzer sounds from the roof of the dugout on the third base side of the diamond. It's set to a timer and reminds students to move to another station, where a different activity awaits.

The trio in front of me stir in their seats at this day’s equivalent of the recess bell. They take a peek over their shoulders to see where their classmates are now.

They’ve already missed one station and don’t want to miss another.

With the interview finished, I let them rejoin the chaos that is sports day.

Excitedly, they shoot through an open gate and bounce across the infield, eager to join their classmates in a new game.

In a way, it is a parallel to the close of this school year.

As one grade finishes, the next one awaits.

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