Farewell to Middle School

Dear Fed,

It is time. This is farewell. The last two years leave me with mixed emotions as I move forward.

Photo Credit: Author's own

Photo Credit: Author's own

I remember the many mornings when I risked my life pulling into your parking lot. Your common sense admonished that turning left on S. Federal Blvd. during rush hour is never wise, but who has time to be common? Risking it all only to find that every parking space was taken—again and again, eventually convinced you were right.

The kids, well everyone, claimed you were haunted. “Fed is our flagship campus, but it used to be a nursing home,” or “It was actually a morgue” they’d claim. I refused to believe it until exploring your underbelly beneath the old 7th gr. Office. It wasn’t the creaky ladder. Not the low ceiling. Nor the cobwebs or mysteriously labeled boxes. The random openings in the wall leading to black abyss sealed the deal. Those cavities (large enough for a small child), where do they lead? I don’t want to know.

I do know that I will cherish the wonder and delight we launched from your sturdy roof during our egg drop competitions.

Photo Credit: Author's own

Photo Credit: Author's own

Awe grips me when I remember the courage and wisdom of the poet warrior who stood on your stage and came out to her peers.

I sit up a little taller when I recall parent conferences where students proudly led their parents down your main corridor, giddy over their achievements showcased on your walls.

Tears fill my eyes when I consider the braille that popped up all around campus last fall. You underwent a subtle transformation to ensure that all students in our community could access a quality education.

I marvel at the growth mindset I encountered among colleagues and school leaders.

Nothing could top the sight of our former students striding across the cafeteria the night of 8th. Grade continuation. Dressed in their best (a cross between the glamour of prom and corporate sophistication), our exuberant students gathered in their cafeteria line as they had for the past three years. Only this time instead of a meal they waited to triumphantly to receive their 8th. Grade diplomas and sign their college banner. Some chatted incessantly while others proceeded solemnly. One by one they stepped up to the acknowledgement and praise from their community. We always knew you could do it, the shouts seem to say.

Photo Credit: Author's own

Photo Credit: Author's own

Those 13 and 14 year-olds taught me so much about learning. Love. Them. And now they are moving forward. Our students are spreading out to high schools across: Abraham Lincoln, STRIVE PREP SMART, Arrupe Jesuit, and Denver School of the Arts just to name a few.

You beckoned me to witness the ongoing progress of our kids. My heart is full. Federal campus, I am forever thankful for your unassuming, transformative presence on the corner of South Federal and Colorado.

Moving forward with gratitude,

A.L.