Attention Readers
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, C & G Newspapers has temporarily suspended its print publications. We look forward to resuming our print operation in the coming weeks. In the meantime, continue to find local news on our website and look for us on Facebook and Twitter. We hope you stay healthy and safe.

‘Dear Class of 2032’: Parents pen touching letters to incoming kindergartners

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published August 30, 2019

 Rachel Sisco was one of the parents who participated in the YouTube  video that’s gaining  popularity online.

Rachel Sisco was one of the parents who participated in the YouTube video that’s gaining popularity online.

Photo taken from the Bloomfield Hills Schools district

Advertisement
Advertisement

BLOOMFIELD HILLS/TOWNSHIP — “Be fair. If you do something wrong, admit it. And make a plan to fix it.”

“Be kind. Show you care.”

“Walk away from people and situations that are not good choices, and help others to do the same.”

“Ask questions and be curious.”

“Remember to have fun along the way. You have a whole village around you to guide you and support you.”

Those are just a few of the tips that parents in the Bloomfield Hills Schools district penned to their incoming kindergartners over the summer in an emotional video shared online.

But let’s be honest: Those are pretty good pointers for any age, right?

Shira Good, the director of communications and service standards for the district, said her team reached out to families back in May, asking via email if they’d like to write a letter to their kindergartner and share the results for a short YouTube video. Nearly two dozen volunteers responded, and the result was touching, to say the least.

“We honestly didn’t know what we were going to get, but we were blown away by what the families shared. I think we went through literally three whole boxes of tissues in the two days as each family member came in and recorded their beautiful words,” Good said.

Marcela Cali’s daughter Serafina heads to kindergarten this year after graduating from the district’s Bloomin’ Preschool program at Conant Elementary School.

“I saw the email at around 12:30 a.m. or so one night when I was just checking my emails before bed. It sounded like such a beautiful project to be a part of. I started writing the letters, then I couldn’t sleep, so I just kept going,” she said, noting that she wrote to her two other daughters in preschool as well.

Cali was one of many who teared up while reading their letter in the video, wishing her little one a good year and telling her to “change the world with her sweet heart.”

Jennifer Gerback, mom to soon-to-be kindergartner Christian, is a former teacher herself, and that made her appreciate the project all the more.

“Knowing my child would hear it, and also that I was (relaying) important information about my son to teachers who are coming back energized, was a motivational aspect,” Gerback said in an email. “As a former teacher, asking my parents what they wanted me to know about their child prior to first conferences in October would’ve been a great idea, too.”

But once the sentiments were on film, Good said there was something missing — and her husband had the answer.

“He suggested asking the families for some home video footage, and once we added that, we felt like it really came together,” she said.

As parents speak, audiences see scenes of kiddos jumping into swimming pools, tumbling off couches and petting the family dog. It’s a nod to the innocence and joy of childhood that their parents wish could stay with them forever.

While the kids may not be able to absorb the full message of love their parents shared with them in the video until they’re a bit older, the project certainly served to ramp up their eagerness to start school.

“I am so excited to see my friends,” incoming kindergartner Teddy Sisco said in an email. “I am so excited we don’t have to nap and get to have quiet time instead.”

“Riding the bus,” Christian Gerback said when asked what he is excited to experience in kindergarten. “Learning to read too, I guess.”

When the video was finished, Good said it was screened in front of other district staff members to gauge their reactions. She said that when the director of physical plant services wiped away a tear, she knew they had a winner on their hands.

“The words the families shared transcend the incoming kindergartner experience. They are the hopes and dreams of family,” Good added in an email. “I think that’s what allows people to universally relate to the video — they want the same things for their children, and teachers do too. It sounds corny, but it’s one of those ‘we’re all in this together’ moments that was really neat to experience.”

To see the “Welcome Back to School: 2019-2020 School Year” video, visit bloomfield.org. A link to the video can also be found on the Bloomfield Hills Schools social media pages.

Advertisement
Advertisement