On the last day of school each year children eagerly await the buzzing of the last bell. Desks have been cleaned and stacked in a corner. Bulletin boards are naked. Artwork and summer practice sheets are crammed into backpacks and quickly forgotten. In one classroom, a drawing is held to see who will become guardian of the class gerbil for the summer. The fish tank is empty and scrubbed clean. Garbage cans are overflowing with discarded science projects.
Another class views a video montage of the year in review one last time. The video was created from images of their activities throughout the year. It began with a class photo from the first day of school showing everyone sitting in their newly assigned seats, hands folded in anticipation. Photographs of open house, the trip to the fair, Halloween costumes, science fair presentations, and environmental camp bring back memories of an eventful school year.
Gifts from a few students sit atop an otherwise empty teacher's desk in another classroom. "Thank you for being such a great teacher" is written on the whiteboard by someone, and students quickly sign their names underneath the message. Tearful goodbyes are exchanged. Hugs and good wishes are handed out as the countdown begins.