First Day of School, 2011

And thus begins seventh grade. Athena has been very much looking forward to the start of this particular school year, so I hope everything goes for her as she hopes and plans. I still think it’s silly to start the school year before Labor Day, but no one ever asks me about these things, so. In any event, it has been family tradition to start the school year with an informal portrait; this is this year’s model. Off we go into another year.

56 Comments on “First Day of School, 2011”

  1. They grow so fast, John. Remember the song “Sunrise, Sunset” from “Fiddler on the Roof?”

  2. Good luck, Athena! And good luck, John & Krissy. Seventh grade was rather turbulent for our girl, since it was her first encounter with just how bitchy and awful middle school girls can be. But it gets better. I know you’ll see her through it.

  3. A young lady, ready to take on the world!

    Oh yeah, daughter is starting fourth week of school (fifth grade) today. The school year is pretty whack now-days.

  4. mossjon314159 – Lansing, KS, USA – Avid reader (see my book reviews and ratings here), amateur astronomer and photographer, sporadic crocheter and Rottweiler spoiler.

    This photo makes me miss my daughter (now a senior undergrad at UNT). Best wishes and blessings, Athena!

  5. Dave H – I can see Canada from my house – Aging dad, electronics nerd, embedded software developer. (I'm the guy who makes your microwave blink 12:00.)
    Dave H

    Give ’em heck, Miss Scalzi.

  6. She looks amazing and so grown-up!

    As a side note, her outfit is something I could easily have worn to 7th grade in 1988. Fashion is amusingly cyclical. :) Now I understand why my mom was laughing when bell bottoms were briefly in style when I was in high school.

  7. As the proud owner/operator of a 7th grader, I wish her the best of luck! My son is loving his year so far (2 weeks in) and I hope Athena does too.

  8. Good luck to Athena! Seventh grade is a big deal.

    Here in Connecticut, the first day of school has been postponed till tomorrow.

  9. Athena looks lovely.

    There will be a lot of firsts for her this year. I hope she enjoys them.

    Let me know if she and her friends plan a day to wear the same color. When I used to teach 7th grade, this was a common occurrence for a group of girls outside my classroom.


  10. Have fun, Athena, John & Krissy. Remember, John, teachers work harder with students whose parents communicate when problems come up. And as a parent of a Tenth grader, well, stuff is always going to come up. Enjoy the journey, it goes faster but it becomes more fun, too.

    Tim in Texas.

  11. When I was younger, our school year didn’t start until after Labor Day. My kids started school 2 weeks ago (August 15th) and we have friends who started the week before that. The biggest issue I have with this is that here in Phoenix, it’s way to hot outside for recess. So, my 6 year old son, gets to sit inside all day without any running around time. That’s just cruel.

  12. John, I hope you have a baseball bat next to the front door. While an aluminum bat may have a longer service life for beating boys away from the entrance portal, there is just somehting so traditional about the satisfying thwack of a genuine wooden bat, as opposed to the irritating ping of aluminum. No Sir, this post is not off topic… it is just a roundabout way of saying you got a pretty young lady in the household and–if not already, then soon–you will need some way to clear a path through the boys for mundane purposes such as ingress, egress, and a couple of hours of sleep here and there.

    Oh, and by the way, nice ensemble Ms, Scalzi. Enjoy your day at school.

  13. Best wishes for a brilliant and happy school year Athena! Your 1st day of school pic elicits nostalgic memories for my sons 1st day of school who are now all grown up with children of their own.

  14. Have a great 1st day and a great year of 7th Grade Athena! Love the outfit.

  15. Since Ohio kids go back to school a week before Michigan kids do this is officially Michigan Week at Cedar Point. I hear it’s a great time to go. Lovely girl.

  16. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, who isn't going out like that!

    Look out 7th grade. Athena’s got on power clothes!

  17. By law Michigan public schools must open after Labor Day. Of course this was done to help bolster the tourism industry, but that it agrees with my sensibilities, that’s okay.

    Dr. Phil

  18. They don’t seem to talk about this in school, but 7th graders can take the SAT. Not the PSAT, not a scaled down version, but the actual SAT. The country is divided into four regions, in Ohio you would go through Northwestern University’s Midwest Academic Talent Search. Typically your child can take the test if she scores in the 90th percentile on the standardized tests she took last year.

    The SAT scores do NOT count or go on her transcript, but I can tell you it is a lot of fun when your 7th grader scores higher than your high school’s average SAT score. Some people feel testing this early is too young, and they may have a point if she is going to stress about it. I also wouldn’t put too much energy into prepping for it (we did one practice test).

    I believe taking the SAT this early does two good things. First it is great practice, she won’t be nearly as nervous about it in 11th grade. Second, it makes her eligible for summer programs and online courses (my daughter took an online creative writing course from Duke University the second half of her Freshman year). It also puts her on college’s radars (at least that is one explanation for a 10th grader getting letters and flyers from over 300 colleges).

    Good luck to Athena this year!

  19. I hope 7th grade is a positive experience for Athena. She certainly looks as though she had grown much in the last year. The next couple of years are when lots of changes happen. It’s a coming of age time when kids start thinking about the more philosophical issues such as Athena did earlier with Lent. I loved to teach this age in UU sunday school.

  20. Wow, she looks fabulous!
    And how the heck is it possible that she’s in seventh grade? When did that happen? Wasn’t she just a little kid not that long ago?

  21. @41
    “In the school district I grew up in during the ’80s we had school start in August every year and let out sometime in mid-May.”

    Maybe it’s different in Canada. I grew up in a rural area of Nova Scotia. The biggest entertainment my brother and I had in the summer was “cow pattie” fights

  22. Aw, she looks great! I’m digging the little white sweater. Even though I don’t wear white. It has nothing to do with virtue, everything to do with a love of ketchup and an innate clumsiness.

  23. @#40

    Here in South Carolina–at least in my school district–classes started a week ago. Even back in the early ’70s school started in August, but it was a case of we went to school on Thursday and Friday, then had Monday off for labor day (except for years when we went another week then had labor day off), then finished the year in the middle/last half of May. Now they start early in August and in some cases go till at least the middle of June, and in a couple of local counties they have been trying to convince the parents that year round school would be the thing with no more than a week or two off for kids at any point. Sigh.

  24. Wow – your school system is slow! Ours got going two weeks ago. Of course they also get out really early, so in the end I don’t think it makes a lot of difference.

  25. Wow…I just realized I’ve been reading your blog for a long time…at least 4 years. Amazing how much kids change in that short a time. She’s growing into a lovely young woman. Are you already planning how you yourself are going to deal with the teenage boy situation? My brother is going for the big menacing handshake routine. Seems to be working for him…

    Good luck this year, Scalzis of all sizes!

  26. We are into the third week of school here in New Mexico. I miss teaching 7th graders, I am at the high school now and it is not the same.


  27. My son is also starting 7th grade, but in Ontario we do start next Tuesday.
    Good luck Athena.
    Our family tradition is homemade cookies on their return from the first school day

  28. John, I went to one of your Random Whatevers after seeing this photo and got Athena’s first day of first grade photo. What are the odds of that? I’m sure I could do the math but I’m too lazy right now.
    Just wanted to say “Rock on, Athena!”

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