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First day of school – "Einschulung"

Thursday, August 25, 2016


This morning the new first graders participated in the “Einschulung”, a long-held German tradition celebrating the students’ graduation from kindergarten and their entrance into school. Today’s event began with a story about a determined turtle’s journey to attend a wedding. Along the way he encountered numerous animals who gave him many reasons to give up and turn around. Yet he paid no attention and his reply as to how he would accomplish the long journey ahead was simply: “Schritt für Schritt,” “step by step.” The turtle’s journey can be likened to the journey a student takes through elementary, middle and high school. This can seem like a daunting task, and along the way there may be the temptation to give up. Yet the wisdom of the turtle should be heeded – to take each step at a time. This gentle encouragement, when followed, inevitably brings success, just as it did for the turtle. After the story, the main event was of course when each child received their “Schultüte”, a beautifully decorated cone-shaped bag, containing necessary school supplies, including candy, of course. They each also received a turtle-shaped eraser, a reminder of the wisdom from the book. So, congratulations first-graders! You are about to embark on a wonderful journey. Know that you have the support of an entire school behind you!  And for the rest of us, as we encourage the first graders, we can also listen to the turtle and remember that when things get hard or overwhelming, rather than listening to the voice that says, “Give up,” we can listen to the turtle, saying to each of us, “Step by step.”