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Student Assemblies

The quarter three Honors Awards assembly was held today for every high-achieving kid in grades 3 — 5. So, the students from my classroom with perfect attendance filed up to the stage as I called out their names. They shook hands, collected their certificates of merit, and lined up for photos. They were followed by my Honor Roll students who did the same. I couldn’t see my class. I was on stage passing out the awards and they were lined up just a little ahead of me to the right. After the program was over I was informed that none of my students smiled.

Hmmm. You know what? I can live with that.

The very first student assembly I ever participated in as a teacher with students representing her work has left an indelible picture in my mind. Let me recreate that picture for you:

Envision seven strong, sturdy young men standing shoulder to shoulder upon the stage. They are all wearing crisp white shirts, pressed and creased black dress pants. Their faces are clean and shining. Their hair is just so. Their voices are lovely as they sing, “Home is Nevada.” And the boy at the very end of the line is on his tippy-toes trying to pry his underwear out of his butt crack.

The audience loved it. His mother and I, not so much.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. I’m glad it went more smoothly this time around.

    I’m curious… What did that boy at the first assembly do for an encore?

    Quilly Says: Rob — he didn’t need an encore. Eight years later the show still plays in my mind.

  2. HeeeHeeee!!

    My son has a choir program next Tuesday. I’m trying to think of what trick I can teach him before then. Maybe I’ll just steal that one and send him onto stage with a wedgie. lol

    As a side note, I never smiled for those kind of things. A) My mom would have busted my butt for staying at home, so perfect attendance was a given. B) I didn’t think I deserved an award just for showing up. C) I guess I thought the teachers were really proud of us, so we must cherish this solemn, sacred moment. Smiling would have been improper (I was a weird kid).

    Quilly says: Brig, you weren’t just a weird kid. You’re a weird mother! You WANT your kid to make social faux pas?
    As to perfect attendance — when I was a kid it was only a big deal if one could sustain it for a full school year. I managed it twice: 2nd and 3rd grade.

  3. We weren’t even supposed to smile at those occasions. I got sent to the Principal once for giggling during a choir concert. He said I “lacked the proper decorum for an opportunity to spread the faith”. My parents should never have sent me to a school run by Baptists.

    Quilly says: Kat, life should be fun — unless of course you’re Baptist. Then life should be endured.
    (That’s a joke folks, don’t crucify me!)

  4. Ohhhhhh you know… I have to admit that as student assemblies go, when I’m on the teacher end of things I do okay… but when I’m on the PARENT end of things… eh… one might say my children are better behaved than I am. One particular incident comes to mind where – well it wasn’t actually MY child — but my niece… where she was singing in the chorus and they had been threatened NOT to smile. So my sister and I sat in the audience in the 2nd row right smack dab in front of where wee J was singing and proceeded to stick pencils up our noses! We made faces… wiggled our fingers in our ears… basically we cracked up the entire chorus — all EXCEPT for my niece who managed to GLARE at us throughout the entire performance! (SHE was about 7!) Needless to say that cracked my sister and I up even more — we were purple from laughing so hard! Not too sure the other parents “got us”… LOL!

    Quilly says: Melli, you know all those times I’ve said I thought it would be fun to hang out with you? Well, I obviously didn’t mean in public!

  5. Mommas, don’t let your babies grow up. ’cause otherwise you might have to buy undies that fit. Were they auditioning to be castrati?

    Ouilly says: OC, maybe instead of buying them all black ties, I should have gotten them new underwear. Pft. On the plus side, that particular young man didn’t have any trouble hitting the high notes.

  6. we never had school assemblies here. but your words make this so vivid i had to smile.

    Quilly says: Polona, no school assemblies? It boggles the mind. We assemble all the time! In fact, we assemble every morning on the playground to start our day.

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