John Thomas Elementary. Thomas. This school, where we spend most of our waking hours, is a magical place that defies description. If you haven't been a part of it, you absolutely won't believe it is true. But, it is. We all know it like we know our own name.
It's just an old building, you might say. It's been cobbled together over the years, like a crazy quilt your grandma made. It's not beautiful, not fancy, not noteworthy. The teachers are just normal people, teachers like a million others around the country. The kids are just kids. You'll find them on every street all over the world. They laugh and play and cry and learn just like all the other kids. What's the big deal, you might ask. What makes Thomas so special?
I guess to really understand the answer, you have to have been here. You have to have lived a chunk of your life inside its welcoming halls. You have to have been greeted each morning with a hug and been loved by its smiling teachers. You have to have been part of this place-turned-family to really know what is ending.
If you have been here, you know that this old building is really a magical place. I don't have to tell you, you already know that the people here are special. Maybe not especially different in their own right, but special because we have been blessed to be a part of something bigger. We have been part of this family called Thomas. We all arrived, raggedy and self-contained, and have been absorbed into this otherness. Maybe it's something about the walls, the smell of the halls, the sheer number of years that children have spent learning and laughing here. Maybe it's the commitment to each student that all the adults share, parents and teachers alike.
Maybe there really is no explaining it.
Maybe it's magic. Maybe the final gift that John Thomas Elementary gives us is simply this. We have been here. We have been a part of this family. We have laughed and learned and played within these walls. And no matter what changes lie ahead, that will always be with us.