While the nation was in the grips of the Beijing Olympics, families in the Ranch were racing to prepare for the new school year, which began Aug. 21. There were pool events, picnics, gymnasium activities and a slew of other events leading up to the opening ceremony — the first day of school.
Preparing for a new school year is no easy undertaking, and there were plenty of hurdles to get over — no Olympic pun intended. The Rancho Santa Fe Education Foundation took on the daunting challenge of orienting new families and students to the school. Connie Pittard and Meg Schiffman were the newcomer co-chairs and organized many activities, the first being a Kindergarten Party.
On Aug. 13, the class of 2021 met for the first time at the jungle gym in San Dieguito Park. While the children made friendships, many of their parents met for the first time as well.
On Aug. 14, there was a pool party for students in fifth through eighth grades. It was hosted by Sophia Alsadek with plenty of support from other local parents. The swimmers were eager to practice dives they had seen at the Olympics and Michael Phelps was an inspiration to many of the young men splashing about the pool.
A similar pool party was held the following day, Friday, at the home of Kerrie Lunsford for first through fourth grades. Friday was warm and even the family dog joined in the pool festivities. Both pool parties were well-attended. The Rancho Santa Fe Foundation co-chairs Barbara Edwards and John Cappetta were pleased with the turnout. “We had to turn a few people away,” Edwards said with regret. “We had to make room for all the newcomers.”
A Back-to-School Picnic was held at the R. Roger Rowe School August 20. Rubios provided the food and the event was sponsored by Wells Fargo The Private Bank. Prior to the picnic and tours of the campus, parents and students gathered in the gymnasium to hear words of welcome by Superintendent Lindy Delaney and Assistant Superintendent Sandi Lubenow. Coming out of retirement, R. Roger Rowe attended the event and spoke to the crowd. “It was 50 years ago I first started here,” Rowe said. “We’ve had many pleasures, many success stories.” Many of the parents in attendance had been students themselves during the Rowe era.
Co-chairs John Cappetta and Barbara Edwards addressed the crowd, outlining the goals set forth by the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, which has pledged $800,000 to supplement state funds. Additional funds from the foundation and donors make possible the small class sizes and high academic standards. “We average 17 students per class and the national average is 28,” Cappetta said. The foundation has a five-star education agenda, which includes a new tech science lab and literary excellence. “We are one of 15 schools accepted as part of the Columbia University/ Teachers College Reading and Writing Project,” Cappetta said. “All of our teachers are trained in the program and you won’t find better readers or writers than our kids anywhere.”
Classes began earlier than usual this year and will end their session earlier next spring. This is in preparation for the school renovation that will begin next summer. The new school is scheduled to be ready for the 2010 school year — an Olympic feat indeed.