Back to school already!

August 16, 2019

Pat Maurer

All the way across Clare County, next week is the very last week of summer, for the youngsters and teachers anyway.

Clare, Harrison and Farwell Schools will all start classes again on Monday the 26th and next week is the time for school open houses and teachers “getting ready.”

Around the Maurer household it’s a sad time as youngest granddaughter Alison will begin her last year in public school as the last grandchild to graduate.

Not so long ago, (actually 19 years although it doesn’t seem that long) I wrote that granddaughter Mandy was excited because she would be starting first grade and “going all day, just like the big kids.”

If I can remember it right, that feeling of “I can’t wait ‘til school starts” will last just about two days and then they start looking forward to the first vacation day.

Luckily by starting the Monday before the Labor Day Holiday, the kids will get a little vacation after only four days of the new school year!

According to the Census Bureau’s 2016 figures, there were 77 million children and adults enrolled in school throughout the country from nursery school to college. Forty-nine million students were enrolled in public kindergarten through 12th grade in the United States in the fall of 2016.
The Census “Back to School Fun Facts said, “Education pays off.” Listing average yearly salaries based on educational levels, college graduates made $78,187; high school graduates and GED grads made $45,061 and adults with less than a ninth grade education averaged $35,383.

They also said the average amount spent per pupil for elementary and secondary public school systems in the U.S. in 2016 was $11,762. In 1996, the average amount spent per pupil was $5,494; in 1998-99 the amount had climbed to $5,513. In the Clare School district.

Another interesting tidbit is the fact that kids are starting school earlier. About 50 percent of 3-4 year olds attend Head Start, pre-school and early kindergarten classes.

High School graduates going to college will be facing “sticker shock” these days. In 1985-86 the average annual cost of tuition, fees, room and board for all four-year colleges was $10,893; in 1995-56 it was $17,909; in 2005-06 the average was $21,613 and for the years 2016-17 that cost was up to $26,593, bringing an average four-year degree total to over $100,000.

Enough about school and the depressing costs to educate our children and young adults.

Let’s talk about the weather, a much more cheerful subject I think.
August is now half-over. The weather is still beautiful during the day, but have you noticed how much cooler the evenings and nights are getting?
I keep watching for some fall color to start showing here and there, but haven’t seen any as yet. I am a dedicated leaf peeper and thoroughly enjoy our brief, sweet fall season every year.

And whether we notice it or not, the seasons are getting ready to change.
Even the activity at our feeders seems to have picked up. We have multitudes of birds fighting over the seeds with the squirrels and chipmunks, who must be stocking up for a long cold winter.

Fall tends to sneak up on you that way. Here it is, only the middle of August and suddenly you start noticing little things like the frantic activity at the bird feeders that point the way towards the end of another summer season. Our apple trees, and our neighbors’, are suddenly loaded with green fruit. There are fresh green beans in the stores and fresh melons, which taste particularly great this time of year.

No wonder. By the time this issue is published, it will be the middle of August, with only two short weeks left until summer’s last holiday, Labor Day weekend.

The “Dog Days of summer” are here again.
Webster defines “Dog Days” as “the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere; a period of stagnation or inactivity.

Not so this year because the weather is actually much cooler than those hot July days just past.

I think mid-August days are anything but ‘lazy.’ The approach of the end of summer signals a rush to fit in the last days of fun or vacation before the cool weather arrives again and the youngsters all go back to school.

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