Posted by Ross Valley School District on 8/21/2019
The first thing you see when you pull up to campus is a new sign. It is made from a massive single slab of redwood, lovingly planed and sanded, and precisely carved with the letters MANOR by District dad Kent Matheson. It was given as a gift by the fifth graders who moved up to White Hill last June.
It is 9:30 on the first day of the 2019-20 school year, and as of this moment a few hundred students are enrolled here at Manor School. In fifteen minutes they will all be out on the freshly-surfaced blacktop as the ribbon is cut on the brand new dual play structures. Principal Peg, who knows everyone by name, is welcoming people as they arrive and Victor is here, as he always is, calmly and effortlessly making sure that everything is where it needs to be and running smoothly.
The kids come out, class by class, in carefully selected first-day outfits. They walk or skip or twirl or saunter, in lines or clusters depending on mood and class preference, then take their seats (criss-cross apple sauce) under the late-summer sky.
The ceremony is brief, with thanks to our community for their steadfast support of our schools, and thanks to the parents, teachers, and students who helped design the structures. It was a big team effort and Manor is all about teamwork.
Pharrell Williams sings “Happy” over the PA as Victor takes the ceremonial first trip down the slide, hands in the air, grin on his face, with hundreds of young voices whooping and cheering him on. Then Principal Peg and Bret (the District Maintenance Director who has looked after all of our facilities for as long as anyone can remember, and who will be retiring soon to go galivanting all over the country on his beloved motorcycle) cut the ribbon and its game on!
Happy kids swarm the structures. There is swinging and hoisting, climbing and sliding, semi-patient turn taking and excited sprinting around as everyone looks to try out everything. No tears are spilled, or knees skinned, no adult intervention is required, and the consensus seems to be that there are months and years of fun to be had here. Several of the adults whisper that they will be slipping back to have a spin on the merry-go-round after school lets out.
With high hopes for each of the children who will spend the coming nine months here, and deep appreciation for all of the adults who support, teach, parent, and mentor them, you head back past the beautiful new sign and quietly wish everyone a splendid new year.