Column: Start of school, football marks end of summer

·3 min read

Aug. 13—Summer's over.

Not really. My calendar says fall officially begins Sept. 22, and the temperatures will probably feel like summer for the next month.

But with Aiken County public schools beginning classes Monday, and my annual trip to the beach in the books, summer feels complete.

Another harbinger of fall — football season — is also on the way. South Carolina high schools begin this coming week, and the college season kicks off for most schools on Labor Day weekend.

Which reminds me: be sure to check out our football tab that is inserted in today's paper and available online. It has lots of great content about the upcoming high school season.

After a couple of years of interruptions because of COVID-19, perhaps this school year will go pretty smoothly. For all of us, I certainly hope so.

The new school year is an exciting time. A chance to meet new teachers, make new friends and discover new opportunities.

Of course, it can be a little frightening for some. Not all kids are excited to go back; they might be scared or have some apprehension if they are going into a new environment.

We've been covering the opening day of several private schools in the area, and the photos have been great. The picture of the two young girls at Mead Hall on Friday's front page was priceless. It showed them rushing to hug each other.

Of course, there was a photo that didn't make print of one young man who was less than thrilled. He was crying in the group photo that our reporter took. My wife and I happen to know his family, and his mother reported that he was fine later on.

Such is life.

A lot of people like to wax nostalgic about the summertime of their youth. It was filled with playing outdoors until dark, drinking from a hose and generally staying away from your house unless absolutely necessary. I remember some of those times, but I also reckon I sought refuge in front of a television set with some air conditioning on occasion.

As I got older, I looked for ways to make money to fulfill my twin ambitions of buying golf clubs and a car. My parents were happy to help, but figured I would "stick with it" if I had some skin, or money, in the game. I cut many lawns and bagged a lot of groceries during the summer months.

Next year, Aiken County's public schools will be on a different calendar. In a move approved earlier this year by the Aiken County Board of Education, students will begin classes in late July. They will get two weeks of breaks in the fall and spring semesters in addition to the usual two-week Christmas break.

The goal is to improve learning and academic performance, but critics worry about the impact it will have on extracurricular activities. I guess time will tell if the modified calendar serves its intended purpose.

My advice to all the students is to enjoy this time while you can. Work and adult obligations will soon enough arrive and you'll be yearning for those school days, even if they started sooner than you would have liked.

Thanks for reading.