The New School
By Tobias Berg
Oct. 8 '03
I grew up on a tiny gulf island just south of Courtenay, called Denman Island. There were only about twelve hundred people on my island; the school had about one hundred kids attending from kindergarten to grade six. It was a brand new school with all the latest gadgets and gizmos, and we were going to be the first class to graduate from the new school. It was one of those tiny schools where if not everyone in your grade played on the seasonal sports team then there simply was no team. I was nearing the end of grade six, the last year in my school on my island. So many things were changing from this school year to the next that I knew this was going to be one of the greatest school years of my life.
Everyone in my graduate class of twelve was very excited on our last day of grade six. This was supposed to be the best day of our seven years in school. This was the day of our famed graduation assembly. All of our parents were there along with all the teachers and students from the other grades. The assembly was supposed to consist of the teacher's giving their congratulatory speeches and us, getting our care packages for the big school, Lake Trail Junior High. The day was a big disappointment. The assembly was slow and uneventful. The speeches were heartfelt but lame. As for the care packages, they consisted of a ferry schedule, a bus schedule and a few little trinkets for our lockers. Was this some kind of joke? If you grow up on a gulf island, you know the ferry schedule off by heart and who is going to use a bus when they are eleven years old? Despite all the dissatisfactions of the day, I was still bubbling with joy because I had had a great year. I had had my first non truth-or-dare kiss, had a lengthening growth spurt and had the first taste of one of my dad's beers. So at age eleven I thought I was well on my way to becoming a man. I was also excited about the end of a school year a good summer and a new start at a new bigger, better school.
That summer seemed to go by far too quickly. I had many new experiences that summer. Most of them the usual ones that come with puberty, the first French kiss, the first sign of hair where it's not supposed to be, that kind of stuff. The major highlight of that summer was my first non-chaperoned party. My friends and me where organizing it for weeks ahead of time, and we had everything planned out. Everyone had something to bring and everyone had their stories straight, just in case our parents wanted to talk to each other. Denman is not a small island and not everyone lived close to each other. I only lived close to one person, Raina. It was perfect because all of the girls could tell their parents that they were going to Raina's and all the guys were spending the night at my house, and the parents were none the wiser. The guys got to my place early to set up, while the girls were doing whatever it is that girls do before a party. ...