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Highlights of Our First Day

The first day of school is almost always special. It dawns full of the kind of promise that smells like a newly sharpened pencil. It is animated by the charge we get from other people–the kind of energy teachers can only get from their students, and students get from their peers, as well as from the look in a welcoming teachers’ eyes.

The most amazing thing about this historic first day of school is that it was, in many ways…normal.

There were forms to fill out.

St. Mark the Evangelist-Harlem.

Classrooms were ready, including the bulletin boards.

Students in new uniforms gathered their courage and stepped out of cars, into the unknowns of a new year.

St. Thomas Aquinas-Cleveland.

Middle schoolers summoned patience and dignity as their parents dropped them off.

In freshly painted hallways, students hung up their backpacks.

Students and teachers gathered in prayer:

Over 100 Our Lady Queen of Angels-East Harlem remote learners joined morning prayer with their friends at the school.

People said things students already knew–duh.

Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary–East Harlem.

Students learned new procedures.

Students in OLQA’s hallways line up for class.

Most importantly, students started again to learn.


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A totally different first day, but it felt good to be back! Happy first day of school!

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Something unusual did happen: On the first day that St. Thomas Aquinas and Archbishop Lyke in Cleveland opened as Partnership Schools, a rainbow appeared in the sky above them.

St. Thomas Aquinas School-Cleveland.

As beautiful as that was, it wasn’t the most beautiful thing we saw on the first day of school. As we looked past a few things on September 8, we saw…each other. On an extraordinary, beautifully ordinary first day of school.

Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary.