From generation to generation, summer vacation holds a special place in our society.
From Alice Cooper's 1972 "School's Out" to the countdown in "High School Musical 2," young people have been counting those last school days as May draws to a close.
The days are longer as the late spring sun stays high in the western sky until well into the evening and the temperatures call us to the cool water of newly filled swimming pools.
We know it's almost the end of the school year when the lines at Dairy Queen get longer and longer.
We roll down our car windows and breathe in the smell of freshly mowed lawns.
Summer almost is upon us.
Many summer traditions remain the same for students on break.
We have wonderful swimming pools to keep students engaged during the summer months. Learning to swim is a skill that potentially could save a life.
Our community pools and lifeguards provide a great value and tremendous service to our families. The memories created by connecting with friends and spending hours actively playing in our pools can strengthen important social relationships cultivated during the school year. Pool games, swim teams and simply time with friends are invaluable parts of the summer experience.
Hilliard City Schools offers several summer opportunities for continued learning during the summer months. Although many students enjoy time away from academics, others enjoy the opportunity to either catch up or get ahead.
From summer school to access to Columbus State Community College, from internships to academic camps, our district counselors can connect families to opportunities for extended learning.
Hilliard educators have created more than 70 online courses, many of which are offered during the summer.
Students could take an ACT prep course or get tutoring in an area of weakness.
In short, Hilliard has a myriad of educational opportunities for the summer.
Hilliard also is blessed to have an expanded branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library opening in June.
All school-aged children should find time to read over the summer months. From a novel under the shade of a tree to the sports section of the newspaper, reading is a key to academic success.
We encourage students to find books that interest them and to find a series or genre that creates a spark. Reading builds skills and makes us better writers.
Visiting the library and borrowing books also teaches responsibility and discipline. Books must be cared for and returned on time. These attributes are important for young people.
As for activities, our school district's athletics teams offer a range of camp opportunities for children of nearly every age.
From youth soccer camps staffed with coaches and varsity athletes to summer conditioning and training for middle school and high school students, our student-athletes stay busy during the summer months.
I always am impressed with the commitment of high school athletes who attend training sessions at 6 a.m. so they can get to summer jobs.
We are blessed to have dedicated coaches and adults who supervise activities during the summer. Most teams have summer leagues, shootouts and camps; the school athletics webpages have more information about them. Participation in summer activities, prior to tryouts for fall sports, is voluntary but encouraged.
Finally, just as we emphasize digital wellness and cyber safety during the school year, adults must be vigilant in monitoring students' activities and screen time during the summer months.
We are social beings; life demands face-to-face interaction to build real relationships. Adults must encourage balance in students' lives. Mobile devices, games and computers are powerful tools, but we must make sure student are not living lives out of balance.
We also must monitor social media and practice "see something, say something" during the summer months. It truly takes a village to keep our young people safe.
I wish everyone a relaxing, peaceful and fun summer. Meanwhile, Hilliard educators will be working diligently to prepare for the start of school in late August.
We will be opening the new Memorial Middle School, expanding into the Innovative Learning Hub and launching the Arrow program for gifted elementary schools.
We are repairing roofs, paving driveways and replacing carpet.
We will be ready for nearly 17,000 students when the new school year begins.
Hilliard City Schools Superintendent John Marschhausen writes the Hilliard Schools Connection guest column for the ThisWeek Hilliard Northwest News.