The Beechwood Handbook says that school hours are from 8:15am-4:00pm. This past Thursday, I was witness to a high level of activity that occurs after our school closes. I worked until 4 then decided to get some exercise over at the Onetta Harris Center (only $1 to use the Fitness Center!). Anyway, here is what I experienced in just around 90 minutes.
4:02 p.m. Before stepping on the treadmill for a run, I stop in to see some of our students who are in the Center’s afterschool program, “Sky’s the Limit”. Jimmy is the lead supervisor and the students are getting their homework done and having fun as well. Jimmy is pleased to hear that the students in the program are doing well socially and academically at Beechwood.
4:15 p.m. Through the windows of the Center, I see Sofia Lopez, the woman who cleans the school. She stops to talk to a parent, Mr. Higuera, who has come to pick up his daughter, who is seeing her tutor. Sofia smiles broadly as she and the parent have a pleasant conversation. He helps her pick up the cones in the parking lot.
4:30 p.m. I hop off the treadmill and head over to the Center’s multipurpose room to check out Mr. Pantoja’s wrestling practice. 15 wrestlers are finishing up a “light workout” with 40 squats, 40 pushups and 40 sit-ups. Every kid gives his best effort. I join in and remember the great feeling of being on a team that is unified in purpose. I am very impressed with their discipline and effort.
4:45 p.m. As I emerge from the Center, I see our reliable volunteers Peter Beckh and Charlie Amman heading to their cars after working with two of our 8th grade students Carmen Jimenez and Jocelyn Higuera. All four of them deserve high praise for working overtime, as does the man who runs our volunteer program, Mr. Getter.
4:55 p.m. I return to school and find that Mrs. Tang and Mrs. Brooke-Wilke are still working, making sure that they are ready when their students arrive the next day.
5:00 p.m. Parent volunteers Kim Lax, Rosa Gomez and Patricia Rendon arrive for a Parent Advisory Officer’s meeting. The four of us sit for a highly productive 30-minute meeting while Mr. Lopez’s vacuum works away in the background.
5:35 p.m. I drive home through traffic, feeling tired but proud. Proud to know that so many of us in this community are willing to do whatever it takes to help each one of these students to succeed.