Driving home from Cabrillo Middle School in our minivan, Leslie became so overcome with emotion that I asked that I drive. It would be the last day of school for Bryce and Trent. The boys started the mid-December morning somewhat excited by the prospect of bailing on traditional school, at least for awhile. After the office handed Bryce and Trent their sign-off papers, we were off on an administrative scavenger hunt to collect the the required signatures. First stop, the library where the boys had to drop off their text books, affirm they hadn’t any outstanding library books, and capture the first of many approval signatures for the day. Five different teachers would need to assign them their grades, assessing the work they’d completed thus far in the given subject. The last signature would be that of a school councilor.
Throughout the day, the experience was version of a similar story: the teacher in each class announced to the classmates the boys’ departure and wished them safe travels, some read aloud the letter I provided, explaining why the boys were leaving and the voyage we planned to do. One of Trent’s teachers even encouraged the classmates to write a personal farewell note to Trent. By the end of the day, the boys were emotional too, surprised by the number of classmates they had found to be caring friends, and the degree to which those friends expressed sorrow in light of their pending departure. The boys were deeply touched. Even Bryce, who tends to react more stoically and nonchalant about such matters, expressed how much his classmates meant to him.
With the hope of sharing our experience, several Cabrillo Middle School science teachers and a top administrator discussed with us the possibility of connecting their classrooms with us, introducing the Cabrillo students, possibly via Skype or FaceTime, to other classrooms from other countries–a service we’re excited to provide, facilitating a cultural exchange that we feel is important for young people, allowing us to share a part of Bryce and Trent’s experiences with kids their age. We hope to make something wonderful and inspiring happen. Additionally we take with us more than our fond memories as we were given by the school a small token with which to photograph around the world. Fittingly, the symbol of Cabrillo Middle School is that of a mariner.
Ventura’s Cabrillo Middle School was good to Bryce and Trent, as was Pierpont Elementary School and Miss Bird to Trent. The boys are posting the experience of leaving Cabrillo, their last day. Trent is publishing his first, Bryce’s is soon to follow.