It’s the last week of school! How exactly did that happen? I have catching up to do here, but first, let’s just have a word or two about this week. This is Honey’s last week in her elementary school, and somehow I ended up on the ‘graduation committee.’ Ok, that’s a bit disingenuous as I actually know exactly how it happened. It went like this:
My Friend Barb: “Hey, Laura, you should be on the graduation committee with me!”
See how easy that was? Barb is a dangerous woman. It’s a good thing she doesn’t smoke. Suddenly there I was, on a committee with these ridiculously talented parents who were coming up with loads of great ideas and I was just hanging on for dear life. I have a suspicion that there’s a manual called “How to Succeed in Committees Without Really Trying” and that each these women has a dog-eared copy resting on her bedside table. It’s right next to the “How to Apply Makeup” manual, which I also seem to have missed.
In the end, the committee decided to call the event “Passport to Middle School” and go with a whole airplane/travel kind of thing, which I really liked because heck, who doesn’t love a theme, right? Plus I get a little itchy talking about ‘graduations’ before high school. (Curmudgeon.) Besides, who do you think came up with the idea? You guessed it – Barb.
I’ll get some photos of all the decorations as the week progresses, but one of my favorite things is that the diplomas are going to be handed out in what looks like oversized passports. Hard to describe, but they’re totally fantastic. The folder is blue with an embossed passport stamp on the cover, and inside is the diploma and a replica of the first page of a passport – the form was printed and the students wrote in their own names and place of birth, etc. Each one even has a photo – they look terrific.
The job I got was making the programs. Compared to what the other committee members have managed to pull together, I’m a little embarrassed that this is all I’ve really been doing besides just generally helping out. I was looking around the auditorium after one of the music performances a few weeks ago, though, and there remaining on every single chair was the program for the performance. It makes sense – during the event, it’s nice to know the names and numbers of all the players, but after the event, well, it’s not exactly a keepsake. This got me thinking; what program would be tempting to keep?
Playing off the theme, I came up with a boarding pass and itinerary sheet as the event program. Not a novel idea, but maybe just that bit closer to sliding into the diploma folder rather than into the recycle bin. Here’s the program cover:
And here’s the ‘itinerary.’
Of course, none of the students will have the slightest idea what this is – there’s nothing quite like dating yourself in front of 84 fifth graders.
I was feeling pleased that the design used just a third of a sheet of paper for the cover and one single sheet for the content, but a graphic designer I am not, and there were a couple of elements I forgot. First and foremost – to get the full bleed on the cover (that’s having the color run all the way off the paper without a white border), I’d need to print these on a printer, not at the copy shop. Second, just to photocopy the second sheet in color turned out to be over $100, which was my budget for the whole thing.
My trusty old garage sale paper cutter and I spent some quality time together today.
It kept snickering at our printer, which would print three sheets and then completely spin out. “OhMyGodOhMyGodOhMyGod there’s NO PAPER in the tray!!” I’d open the paper tray, poke the stack of paper a couple of times and slide it back in. Then the printer would print a few more sheets and moan, “Oh man. That’s it. I think – yep, I’m SURE, now I’m totally out of Cyan.” I’d replace the ink cartridge, it would hum along for a few more pages and then, “Oh NO!!” What is it now? “There’s NO PAPER in the tray!!!! AUGH!!!! I can’t work like this!!!!!” No, printer, there’s plenty of paper in the tray. Meanwhile the paper cutter just kept on cutting. I swear, it was like working between the prima donna and the stage hand of the print production world.
Eventually though, we made it to the end. 200 cover sheets.
I brought the second sheets to Kinkos for copying (in black and white) and folding, so tomorrow I can staple them all together. All in all, I was psyched that it came together more easily than I anticipated. Everything takes doing, though. There’s this whole team of people coming up with ideas and decorations and plans to make this event fun and thoughtful for the students, but unless you did any of these jobs, you probably wouldn’t know what’s entailed.
Today I was in the classroom helping the students complete a small project that will be part of the design on the walls of the school auditorium. Having pored over all their names on the diplomas and passports and programs over the past couple of weeks, I feel as though I know each one of them intimately at this point. I walked past one of the students and asked, “Sarah, are you finished with your writing?” She looked up at me and said yes. Then she paused, narrowed her eyes at me and asked warily, “Wait… how do you know my name?”
For a split second I was sorely tempted to say, “Sarah, I’m from the future and I’m here to save your life but there’s no time to talk – a cyborg assassin is blowing up the front office as we speak! RUN!!” But I didn’t, because she’s a child and she has no business watching that movie yet. I figured I should stick with honest and reassuring, so I said, “I’m a mother. We know everything.”