This has been a strange start-up in the wake of our major funding loss. September is always crazy, chaotic fun and utterly exhausting. That aspect isn’t so different this year. Having such a small program — cutting our 600-student capacity and staff nearly in half — is definitely different, however.
I had such a hard time getting ready for this. Working out the details of staff orientation, returning and new student registrations and orientations, class offerings … It has all seemed to drag and pull, as though I’ve been trying to breathe under water.
As much as I love getting back to school, I haven’t much wanted to get back this year. As long as we hadn’t gotten started yet, I could imagine we were our old selves — big program, big staff.
This week has been registration for returning students. And it’s been lovely to see so many of the students I love come in, ready to get moving toward their goals. So many kisses and hugs, all the catching up, all the surprises. Ardelia, who is still so young, became a grandmother two weeks ago. Jenny cannot stop smiling because she has — finally — gotten her work authorization. Blanca walks a little taller and prouder with her new GED under her belt as she comes in to make an appointment with a job counselor.
It’s a new year, and there is a lot of ‘new’ to get used to. But there are still quite a lot of ‘known knowns’ here. We’re still us, after all. More than a little battered, but still here.