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In winter, they’re at school early enough to watch the sun rise over the rugby posts.

We had a preparatory meeting for Campbell’s middle school on Tuesday night. I’d spout the usual parental bull about hard it is to believe our little baby boy is ‘graduating’ elementary school already except that, having seen him almost every day for 11 and a half years, it’s not hard to believe at all. Kids grow up, parents grow old, we all die.

What I do find hard to believe is that, in our school district, both the middle and high school start their day at 7:40am. Quite what this is meant to achieve seems to be beyond parents, teachers and officials alike. It would make at least some sense if the elementary school started that early – little kids tend to bounce out of bed at dawn. (But Campbell’s current school starts at what I find to be a more hospitable 9am.) It would make some sense also if the school day was that much longer in middle and high school. (But no, they finish the school day at 2:30pm.) So quite how they think they’re helping our 12-18 year olds kids by challenging their natural sleep habits and having them on school buses as early as 7am (at which time, in winter, believe me, it’s dark dark DARK), is quite mystifying. I like our school district, it’s got a lot of good things going for it. It also happens to be the second-largest (geographical) school district in the whole of New York State, which means that some kids spend up to an hour on that school bus. Fortunately, our new house is near enough to the middle and high school that Campbell won’t be one of them, but still. Looks like we have some issues cut out for us in the years ahead.

Presumably this is not the spot at which you’re meant to break your legs.

One thing none of us should complain about is the school’s location, with a gorgeous, 360-degree view of the Catskill mountains. It also has some excellent outdoor sports facilities, including a state-of-the-art running track. (Is it any coincidence that it also has a highly successful track team?) I was just out there this (Wednesday) evening, using the soft cushion of the track to rehabilitate my leg, and I’ve got to say, there aren’t many more lovely places I can think of to run, assuming you want to stay on the (softly) beaten path. Here’s our hoping our older son will discover his running legs and make the most of it. And here’s hoping too, that he learns to cope with those 6am morning alarm calls. Because I know I won’t!

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