I hate goodbyes, especially when – as in the case of my middle school – those goodbyes are final.
Students and staff from Woodbrook Middle School have joined those of Mann Middle School in the Clover Park School District newest school Dr. Claudia Thomas Middle School.
Woodbrook Middle School is no more. One day soon the former educational facility will become an industrial park.
It is with mixed emotions I bid farewell to my alma mater (literally ‘nourishing mother of studies.’)
When Woodbrook Middle School was first under construction I rode my bicycle down the concrete slabs of what one day would be classrooms and lockers lining the halls.
“Why are you in the office David?”
“I don’t remember my locker combination.”
In Woodbrook Middle School’s second year, I was a first-year student. It was that year I played my accordion in the talent competition.
I froze in stage fright and walked off the stage, the song unfinished.
I couldn’t remember how the school fight song ended.
At Woodbrook Middle School I took algebra twice.
It is no wonder, not to me anyway, that Algebra in Arabic means “reunion of broken parts.”
I didn’t get the reunion part.
But I did get this.
I got an opportunity.
Whether it was my baseball coach, school counselor, or teacher, they opened for me the windows of the world to envision what could be.
From skinned knees sliding into second base (I was actually caught in a run down between first and second), to deciphering the mysteries of abstract number theory, the journey of discovery led directly down the hallways of Woodbrook Middle School.
When I was invited back for the 50th Anniversary of Woodbrook Middle School and again played the very same accordion I used that fateful day a half-century before – the accordion where the keys now stick at the most inopportune times – I was treated to a standing ovation.
This time I finished.
After putting my accordion back into the felt-lined box and closing the cover, I carried it down the hall for what would be the last time.
There in the glass case, just opposite the main office, was a poster with a picture of a highway.
The poster read: “It all starts here. You choose the direction.”
A school is more than bricks and mortar. It is flesh and blood. Mind and body. Passionate, caring teachers. And impressionable, moldable students.
To all of you who made it happen for all of us, for helping us remember everything from combinations to calculations, thank you for the memories.