We decided to take the risk of traveling this Christmas after two years of staying put. We flew to Bethesda to visit Andrew’s parents (known to the kids as “Grummy and Grandpa Stape”). Andrew’s brother, David, also visited with his family (Nancy, Raven, and Max). We were nervous about COVID the whole time, but multiple self-tests have come out negative, so we think we made it.
We avoided indoor activities beyond the family, but had a great time skating and exploring the National Mall. Pictures below capture a bit of the spirit (click on them for larger versions).
And, a video of Raven and Nancy doing a spin on the ice:
On Friday, I had to give a series of short presentations about the middle school GSA to students in every advisory in the building. I was with my two wonderful colleagues, Kate and Vito, who have been co-leading the group with me for the past few years. Over the course of 90 minutes, we gave the presentation to a dozen different groups of students. We tried to keep it high energy, so we were running a bit ragged by the end of it. One of the last groups, however, made my day.
As we wrapped up our presentation, a girl called out, “Mr. Roy, are you Griffin’s dad?” I said, “Yes I am. Why do you ask?” She responded, “He is the nicest person I have ever met!” At which point, a bunch of other students chimed in in agreement.
This wasn’t surprising in the sense that I feared that Griffin wasn’t niceâ€”my sense has always been that he is uncommonly kindâ€”but it is rare for seventh graders to put themselves out there to compliment a classmate so publicly. Moreover, it helped quell any lingering anxiety about how he is settling into his new school.
Griffin signed up to play volleyball this fall. It’s his first formal sport. He’s a few weeks into the season now and has played his first two games. The picture below shows him serving. This serve got him on a roll: he scored three of four points in the subsequent serves, pulling the Spartans into the lead. They ultimately lost the match, but it was great to watch. When the game ended, I asked Griffin how it went and he said, “That was SO much fun!”
As the school year kicks off, I’ve been spending more time on my laptop, and I keep running across files that I intended to post over the past year. (It was a very busy year!)
Attached below is a scanned copy of Griffin’s handwritten admission “essay” that he filled out last January when he first applied to St. Paul Academy (where I teach). I love it that he filled it out on his own without any input from Sarah or me. It’s a great snapshot of his thinking in the middle of a his sixth grade year. At this point, he hadn’t been at an in-person school for ten months.
You can view it below or click the download link below to view it in a larger window.
Griffin is joining me at SPA (St. Paul Academy) for seventh grade. We will be driving to school together each day in our electric car. Although I don’t teach him, I will see him around school regularly. We are both quite excited.
Griffin and Sarah returned this evening from their separate adventures up north. Sarah was preparing for trail crews at three different forest service sites (as part of her job with Mobilize Green). Griffin was backpacking on Isle Royale where he had a ton of fun and apparently fed every bloodsucker on the island (by the look of his legs).
Weâ€™ll add more details in the coming days. Iâ€™m just glad we managed to locate pillows and sheets for everybody.