Countdowns and Liftoffs

Wheeling Country Day School Outdoor Sign in the Sunset of Wheeling, WV

It’s 8:40 in the morning and there have already been two countdowns at WCDS.

The first was for the launch. This morning I started my day in the field in front of the school. I was there to witness the launch team of fifth grade students prepare to send the weather balloon, the JoJo IV, 100,000 feet into the air. The communications team documented the process for Facebook Live in case you missed it.

Once the balloon was lifting the weight slightly off the ground, the payload was brought forward full of cameras to catch the flight. As the rope between the balloon and the payload pulled taut, the first of two countdowns began. The balloon flew to the sky just as it did four years ago on a November day very much like today. On that day we launched the balloon to honor the life of Josiah Titus-Glover, who was gone from us all too soon. Tears streamed down my face as I contemplated the innocence and brilliance of children. I had only one thought – I love our school. I love the culture of risk and curiosity. I love that the children are at the center. I love that the teachers trust the children and themselves in this journey of education.

As I walked into the gym to send the rescue team off to recover the balloon, I was greeted by eager fourth grade students who had just finished reading Pie. Their culminating project for the novel is a bake off. Seven tables were set up around the gym. Teachers directed teams to get their ingredients, wash their hands, and prepare materials. The second countdown ensued. From silence to raucous counting to the sound of wooden spoons hitting the sides of glass bowls, the pie contest was underway.

This is Wheeling Country Day School as I know it.

Come and be part of it. I know this is a busy time of year – try as I might to make May more sane – but it is worth it to take an hour or two off work and be part of this school.