School is in Session . . . but Summer is not Over! 9/4/2013

Michigan is a tourism state, and therefore it’s a state law school cannot open before Labor Day.  So while most of the country’s schools have been going strong for a week or more, Mackinac Island students have had extra days to work summer jobs or just ride bikes and horses and have fun.

All good things must come to an eventual end though, and Tuesday Mackinac Island Public School opened its doors for the 2013-14 school year to approximately 85 students K-12.  The great exodus down the hill from our neighborhood in the Village began Tuesday morning as we heard shouts of excitement and laughing voices go by our condo.   There are a few students who don’t live up in the Village, but the majority of them walk or ride right by our condo each school day.

A little before noon Ted and I followed their path down the hill and into the school yard for the annual Back to School Community Picnic.  The entire island is invited to attend and show support of education and children staying in school.  A large number turns out each year – including the Mayor, City Council and other City officials, and Fire and Police officers.  The children of Mackinac never doubt they are supported fully by their community.

We crested the little knoll that partially hides the school from Cadotte Avenue to find folks already seated and eating.

We crested the little knoll that partially shields the school from Cadotte Avenue to find folks already seated and eating.

Smoke rose from twin grills as School Superintendent/Principal David Waaso flipped burgers and hog dogs like a pro.

Smoke rose from twin grills as School Superintendent/Principal David Waaso flipped burgers and hot dogs like a pro.

We grabbed buns, burgers, salad and watermelon - then tried to find a seat.

We grabbed buns, burgers, salad and watermelon – then tried to find a seat.

 
Most of the students had already eaten by the time we arrived and were busy doing what children do - having fun!

Most of the students had already eaten by the time we arrived and were busy doing what children do – having fun!

 
The finale of the picnic was the flying of huge flags in celebration of a new school year.  We have flags available to purchase on Mackinac, and there are always employees flying demos on Windermere Point during the summer.  Today the flags were at the school yard and set up to all rise at once.

The finale of the picnic was the flying of huge kites in celebration of a new school year. We have kites available to purchase on Mackinac at Great Turtle Toys, and there are always employees flying demos at Windermere Point during the summer. Today the kitess were at the school yard and set up to all rise at once.

 
At the appropriate time the kites were released . . .

At the appropriate time and to swelling music,  the kites were released . . .

 
. . . and after a few snags and one kite in a tree (doesn't it always happen to one?), they were aloft!

. . . and after a few snags and one kite in a tree (it always happens to one), they were aloft!

 
After the kite release, students reentered the school to hear a motivational speaker. I left Ted and Larry discussing the problems of the world and went in search of pretty scenes to photograph.

After the kite release, students reentered the school to hear a motivational speaker. I left Ted and Larry discussing the problems of the world and went in search of pretty scenes to photograph.

Since being trapped inside so long not feeling well, it’s as though I have this unbelievable craving to make sure I capture Mackinac during these final days of summer . . . before Fall arrives in all its gorgeous – but completely different – colorful wardrobe.

There are just not enough adjectives to describe this summer's street baskets.  Jack Barnwell and his crew outdid themselves this year - both on the streets and at so many public buildings and private homes.  By the way,

There are just not enough adjectives to describe this summer’s street baskets. Jack Barnwell and his crew outdid themselves this year – both on the streets and at so many public buildings and private homes. By the way, Jack has a book out called Gardens of Mackinac Island that they can’t keep on the shelves at the Island Bookstore and Little Luxuries.  Awesome book with photographs that will make you want to rush out and buy every flower you can find, dig up all your flowerbeds, and start all over again.  But maybe you better wait until next summer for that :).

 
I think this was a flowerbed along the front of the Lakeview Hotel.

From a flowerbed along the front of the Lakeview Hotel.

 
The Monarchs have arrived!

The Monarchs have arrived!

Again, I'm speechless at the flowers in front of this gorgeous cottage on the board walk.  And as a backdrop - two grand buses take a break before heading for the ferry docks.

Jaw-dropping beauty in front of a gorgeous cottage on the board walk. And as a backdrop – two grand buses take a break before heading for the ferry docks.

Same freighter - same buses . . . .

Same freighter – same buses . . . .

. . . and from behind.

. . . and from behind.

Behind some twisted old lilac branches, a backyard remains hidden.

Behind some twisted and ancient lilac branches, a backyard remains hidden from passing visitors . . . unless you look closely.

Heading back to the condo up and

Here I’m heading back to the condo up a sidewalk that a few days ago was full of visitors.  You can tell by the tip-tops of the trees along Cadotte that it was a windy day.

The largest kite was still flying above the school yard.

The largest kite was still flying above the school yard.

Turning around, I got the view looking down Cadotte . . . empty except

Turning around, I got the view looking down Cadotte . . . empty except for a private buggy, one taxi, a bike, and a couple of walkers.  The Grand flowers have a long way to go before the summer’s over for them – they remain spectacular!

This little girl passed me as I walked home.  She was returning from the first day of school

This little girl passed me as I walked home. She was returning from the first day of school – helmet firmly on her head, backpack attached – ensemble in perfectly coordinated shades of lilac.  No carpools, no school buses.  Everyone gets to school under their own power until snow covers the island . . . and the snow machines once again come out of hiding.

Happy Wednesday!

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26 thoughts on “School is in Session . . . but Summer is not Over! 9/4/2013

  1. I saw the school question on your Facebook page and Lowell’s informed response. Iowa has the same law, but almost every school in the state obtains a waiver to start early. With many schools now air conditioned, some even started before the state fair was over mid-August, causing much distress to the tourism bureau here. It has been a hot topic for several months. We are two years past having any children in the public school system, but it is an interesting debate to watch as they try to figure out why we have the state law when no one follows it!

  2. Thanks to alerting me to your blog as we met on the ferry going to the island from Mac City. Your words and photos are wonderful.

  3. When I worked on the island the summer before my senior year of high school, my contract went till Labor Day, so I missed the first week and a half of school here in Connecticut. This year, we started after Labor Day, and I’m a teacher now.

  4. Brenda,

    Sure liked the picture of the children playing with the Straits and the Bridge beyond them. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go to school in a location with a view like that? Fantastic! I just wish those kids knew what a blessing they have, although with it being such an everyday experience I doubt they do. I hope I’m wrong.

    Those beautiful kites sure are different than the kites we flew when I was a little boy, but I bet I had just as much fun with the little ol’ kites we had 65-70 years ago.

    • I know what you mean, Lowell. I can remember my dad buying a kite and then we made our own kite rails. Wow, I haven’t thought of that for a very long time!

      Sent from my iPhone

  5. What a lovely way to show support for the students! Love the idea of the kites soaring like their aspirations. And who better to support the kids than two former school employees? It’s so nice to see the community supporting staying in school!

  6. Our kids started there fourth week of school here in Indiana yesterday! Your photographs make the day look like absolute perfection. My parents always let us miss the first day or two of school back in the day (I’m 33) to show pigs at the state fair.

  7. Loved seeing all the pictures. I have visited the island many times. I grew up in Alpena, Michigan so a trip to the island was always in the plans. I now live in Panama City Beach Florida so it’s not so easy to get there. Sure do miss it!
    Thanks again for the pics,” Tina from Alpena”

  8. Amazing post Brenda! Yeah Sirena was telling me the kids in San Antonio, TX have been in school now since mid-August as usual. I remember starting school after labor day in MI as I was growing up. We didn’t fly kites though. How very cool it is to be a young man or lady growing up on the island and experiencing all the island support as they do. A back to school picnic, ceremonial kite flying……..all the reasons that make Mackinac the special place it is.

    You pictures were really good in this post, I enjoyed them all. My favorites are the children playing with the bridge backdrop, the Grand Bus’, and the sheer level of detail you captured with the Monarch Butterfly. You can see it carefully enjoying some nectar/pollen from the flower. Probably thinking to itself that it must have flown to and landed in heaven. Really stunning pictures Bree! I must say I’m ready for the leaves to change and you to capture all the colors to share with us. I need some fall color pictures of Mackinac for my collection (hint hint) 😉

    Thank you for emailing me the Harley Davidson bicycle pictures too. I definitely need one of those, and T-shirt from their shop next year.

    • Thanks for all the kind words, Jason. I’ve struggled with the new camera, but I think I’m beginning to get the hang of it 😊.

      Sent from my iPhone

  9. It’s wonderful the way that the school and community come together on the first day of school. I teach third grade in MI and I am blessed to work in a wonderful community. But, I bet that our students would LOVE to have such a warm and friendly welcome back.

  10. This post is making me miss Mackinac! I love that Michigan has that law about going back to school after Labor Day. The kids here (in Indiana) went back on July 31st! Way too early, in my opinion! They get longer breaks during the school school, and they get out a little earlier too, but it’s still kind of sad.

  11. Would love to see you do a future story on what the school children and the teachers do during the summer months. I often wonder if they just hang out on the island or travel or what. I admired the picture of you and Ted in the most recent Town Crier also!! I’d love to be able to come up this fall but it’s just not in the budget…….but maybe next year for sure!

  12. I am sitting right now (Thursday 3 pm) in Chicago O’Hare airport waiting for my flight to Traverse City and the drive to Mackinac. Can’t wait to get to the island! Back home in Iowa we are having another heat wave. It is suppose to be in the 90’s for the next week. YUCK! So I am doing a happy dance that I am going to the island to enjoy the cool weather.

    One of my most memorable times on the island was attending a basketball game at the school’s gym in January. It was a couple of years ago and it was so fun to watch the student’s play. Even though I was a visitor, the people were so friendly to me. It is amazing how the seniors have no problem playing with the freshman. Also I about fell over when there was NO admission fee and the parents were selling homemade goodies. I loved it!

    Hope to see you and Jill soon. Take Care!

  13. So beautiful. Great photos. You really caught the blue sky and blue water along with the flowers. Thank you!

    David

    Sent from my iPad

  14. So many beautiful pictures! I remember those flowers along the boardwalk. Saw them as we came back into town after riding around the island. I too love how the community supports the school. They really need it given the budget constraints being placed on schools everywhere.

  15. I was under the weather all last week. Your last several posts made me smile again….as they always do! Gorgeous flowers. What a wonderful thing to do…have a community picnic during the first day of school! Kudos to all who attended.

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