If you have children in the So Bo Co school district, then you know how special this year’s summer vacation has been. Thanks to construction projects taking place at three of our district’s facilities, the 2017-18 school year won’t start until after Labor Day, giving the students of So Bo Co a good old-fashioned, three-month long summer break; just like we had when I was a kid.

Travis Naughton

When I was young, those summers seemed to fly by, but I know now as a stay-at-home parent that three months can seem like an eternity. Although I have thoroughly enjoyed spending these many weeks with my children at home and on the road in places like Hannibal, Missouri; Hot Springs, Arkansas; Hartland, Wisconsin; and Cadillac, Michigan, (Bethany spent an additional week with the kids in New York City, too), I am ready for summer vacation to come to an end.

It’s not that I’m tired of spending time with my kids, because really, they are old enough now to take care of themselves for the most part. I throw them table scraps once in a while and let them sleep in the garage when it’s raining, but the rest of the time they’re pretty much on their own.

The real reason I’m ready for summer to be over is that I’m ready to spend some time with my students and coworkers at school. While it is true that I am technically only a substitute teacher, the kids and grown-ups I work with at the Primary School make me feel like a member of their family. And I miss my family.

This year, it looks like I will be spending a great deal of time with my Primary family. After five years of subbing, I’m excited to announce that I will finally have my first chance to be a long-term sub. In fact, it looks like I may get two or three opportunities to work extended assignments between now and the end of the academic year. (Now that I think about it, I might need a full three-month break next summer, too, Mr. Felmlee.)

The start of a new school year is always an exciting time. Kindergarteners and their parents are getting ready to begin an epic adventure—one that is often fraught with emotion for young and old alike—while members and parents of the class of 2018 are bracing for the gripping conclusion to an odyssey that began the same way thirteen years ago.

Of course those seniors and their folks will have lots of brand new adventures to look forward to after this one ends next May. But no one wants to think about that just yet. Instead, there’s a lot to focus on in the coming weeks and months. Fall sports will already be in full swing by the time doors open for the first day of classes. Yours truly will once again have the honor of calling home football games this season as the public address announcer (or, as I like to call myself, “The Voice of the Eagles!”)

Marching band, vocal music, and many other clubs and student organizations will keep kids (and their parents) busy before, during, and after school. Teachers will quickly settle into new classrooms and new roles. Before long, life in Southern Boone will feel like it has gotten “back to normal.”

Around here, “back to normal” means “back to school.” I absolutely love that. My favorite thing about living in Southern Boone County is the fact that our community is completely dedicated to ensuring the well-being and success of our kids. It is tempting to say that we are very lucky to have such great schools here. I submit that luck has nothing to do with it.

The quality of our schools is a direct result of the commitment the citizens in our area have made to future generations. We recognize the value of a good education. We elect school board members who share that same vision. We hire exceptional administrators and educators who are passionate about helping young people. We acknowledge that in order to give our kids and their teachers the best chance to succeed, we must provide facilities that offer a safe, comfortable, and up-to-date learning environment.

We know when someone tells us, “You Southern Boone folks are so lucky to have such great schools,” that what they are really saying is, “Your dedication to your children is obvious and remarkable.” If a community is to be judged solely on the basis of how well it provides for its children, then surely none can be held in higher esteem than Southern Boone.

See you in school!