Drop-off “duty” can be a fun part of the school day.
“It’s a great way to start off the day,” says Brent Skillicorn, computer teacher at Star of the Sea Schools in Wai‘alae. “You can tell that parents and students enjoy it too.” He was talking about meeting and greeting students and parents each morning.
“I enjoy greeting moms, dads, aunties, uncles, grandmas and grandpas as well as the students’ little brothers and sisters. A smile and a wave from them makes my day – and its not even 7:45 a.m.”
“Good morning” and “How are you today?” usually elicit smiles from everyone, says Deanna Rasmussen, who teaches English as a second language. Mrs. Rasmussen says she also enjoys little things like bowing to foreign parents. “They really enjoy it, and find it so respectful,” she said.
Opening the car doors and helping youngsters put their backpacks on properly also wins nods of approval from parents. “Be sure you put both arms through the shoulder straps,” teachers remind the youngsters. “It’s better for your back.”
“Did you bring your lunch?” often reminds a student or parent that there is a lunch somewhere in the car that needs to go with the youngster to their homeroom.
“Drive safely” or “Have a nice day,” as moms, dads, or grandparents drive away, almost always draws smiles and a wave, Cheri Rauckhorst says. Even parents who bypass the drop-off point to park and go to the office on business, wave and smile to the teacher on duty. Mrs. Rauckhorst, who has been teaching art at Star of the Sea since 1996, says sharing an umbrella to keep the students safe and dry between the car and the lanai is also a “welcomed service.”
“One grandfather always thanks me for caring and for providing the service,” says Keith Haugen, Hawaiian language teacher. “He reaches over to the open window on the passenger side to shake my hand every time we meet.”
Sometimes Haugen greets parents and students in Hawaiian, and sometimes in Japanese. “I really wish I could speak all of the languages of our parents and students,” he says. And when they ask how he is, his standard reply also brings a smile.
“How are YOU?” they ask. “Absolutely terrific” has been his answer for years.
At the 63-year-old Star of the Sea School, the drop-off (and pickup) responsibility is shared by all the teachers – in front of the Hale Hokupa‘a, the Administration building, for the lower grades, and on Marist Lane for middle school students.
“It starts our day off right,” says Principal Carola Souza. “The smiles seem to carry on throughout the day.”
Caption: Lyman Lacro, Star of the Sea Athletic Director, who has been teaching at Star of the Sea School in Wai‘alae for 15 years, enjoys greeting students and parents as the youngsters are being dropped off at school. Teachers take turns.