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TIM LUTZ COLUMN: The spring of our hope

We are still waiting (and hoping) for those warm, spring days, but I trust they are right around the corner.

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As I write this column, I am looking out my window at a cold April day with plenty of snow still lying on the ground.

After several rounds of mid-week weather fronts that have dumped more snow on our area, I find myself wondering if this long winter will ever end. After all, it has been 11 weeks since Groundhog Day.

As a former high school English and Language Arts teacher, I remember the opening words of Charles Dickens’ classic "Tale of Two Cities" which I used to teach to 12th-graders. Dickens’ famous first paragraph includes the following words: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…"

Dickens was writing about a very dark time in France just prior to the French Revolution, so I will not try to conflate our long winter with a “winter of despair,” but I do have to admit that we all feel a bit downtrodden when we experience blizzard warnings and heavy snowfall in the middle of April.

However, I would like to focus on the words, “spring of hope.” After a long school year, it is always nice to anticipate longer and warmer days during which we can enjoy long walks, watch an outdoor sports event at school, or simply sit on a porch or patio and bask in the sun.

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We are still waiting (and hoping) for those warm, spring days, but I trust they are right around the corner.

Perhaps what makes me more excited than the promise of spring temperatures is the hope for a greater return to normalcy in school activities after two long years of the pandemic.

For the past couple of years, we have had to cancel, postpone or revise activities and events due to COVID. The last two graduating classes experienced commencement ceremonies unlike anything ever before. In addition, many awards ceremonies, concerts and banquets were canceled or modified.

This spring promises to be different.

The next six weeks should bring a return to a more typical way of “doing school.” I am looking forward to “normal” spring concerts again.

We will also be holding traditional awards ceremonies and banquets, such as the Hall of Fame Banquet scheduled for May 9 and the National Honor Society Induction Ceremony and the Senior Awards Ceremony both scheduled for May 19. (Let’s hope the snow is gone by then!)

I anticipate more school field trips and group events. I am pleased that the activities known as the “rites of spring” will take place again this year.

We will have a traditional prom on May 7, and we will once again experience the full pomp and circumstance of a graduation program at the Sanford Center on the morning of May 28.

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Other “normal” activities such as Track and Field Day, the senior “Grad Bash” and many other ceremonies and banquets will once again be held in person the way they used to be conducted prior to COVID.

Personally, the hope of spring this year will truly involve more than a return to warmer weather.

This spring, I anticipate a return to normalcy as we open our school community and return to traditional ways of experiencing and enjoying the rites of spring. For me, that makes the next six weeks a “Spring of Hope.”

Tim Lutz is superintendent of Bemidji Area Schools. He can be reached via email at tim_lutz@isd31.net .

Bemidji Area Schools Superintendent Tim Lutz
Bemidji Area Schools Superintendent Tim Lutz. (Pioneer file photo)
(Pioneer file photo)

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