by Pete Mazzaccaro

This week, half way over by the time most of you read this piece, is summer’s last hurrah.

University students are already back on campus, most attending their first classes already. Next week, most public and independent schools also begin.

Before we know it, we’ll be buying Halloween costumes, raking leaves and (gasp) shoveling snow. And, without a doubt, when summer arrives again in June, we’ll be amazed by how quickly the school year has passed.

I’ve written many times in this space about the challenges facing education in general – from rising college tuitions to underfunded public school systems. While those issues are present, and indeed might be hanging over the heads of many as they return to their classrooms, the start of the school year has a lot more to do with promise than pessimism. At least we hope so…

School, no matter the challenges, is an important learning step for everyone, no matter the age. Whether they are learning to read or how to use new methods to multiply, or if they are in an intensive graphics design or forensic science course, schools allow us to improve in ways we couldn’t otherwise. It sounds beyond obvious to say out loud, but we don’t think about how lucky we are to have schools available for us at any age. We even have courses for retirees. Learning never has to end, no matter the season.

A recognition

This year we enjoyed the contributions of two young interns – both Chestnut Hill residents – who last week began preparing to return to their schools: Siobhan Gleason and Garrison Xian.

Both students were part of the Chestnut Gill Locals annual Anna Fisher Clark Memorial Internship program, a program begun by the Clark family many years ago that provides a small stipend to high school interns from the area who are interested in pursuing a career in journalism.

Anna Fisher Clark, for whom the internship is named, was active in politics and community affairs. Her community activities included serving as volunteer director of Bird In Hand, the consignment shop that benefits physical improvements in Chestnut Hill. The internship is given by Mrs. Clark’s husband, Dr. Thomas Clark, M.D., and her children. The internship’s endowment is administered by the Chestnut Hill Community Fund.

Gleason, A Central High graduate began classes at West Chester University this week. Xian is preparing to start his senior year at SCH Academy where he will also be the editor of the school’s student newspaper.

Gleason helped edit and rewrite a number of small stories in the Local this summer and reported last month’s front page story on the Hill’s child friendliness. Xian reported on Chestnut Hill’s squash culture and authored this week’s look at the growing trend of Chinese students seeking American private school educations, a trend that is affecting local schools like his own SCH Academy.

Both students made an impact on the Local this summer, and we hope we had a positive impact on them.