Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its necessary safety measures, it is very easy for the community feeling on campus to get lost. One of the things that makes Casady so special, however, is its one-school mentality and the fact that grades Pre-K-12 spend each day together on one campus. While not all students in the higher divisions have gone through primary, there is a large number who have. This fact makes it all the more fun to check in with the youngsters and see what has been going on in our old stomping grounds.
Before we left for winter break, I sat down to talk with kindergartener Oliver Bishop (‘33) about how school has been going for him this year and to generally chat about life. Some of you may know Oliver from his numerous appearances at sporting events with his father Dr. Will Bishop, but even more for his fiery personality and the aura of happiness that surrounds him.
After some brief beanbag pancake-making lessons, Oliver and I dug into the really important stuff: his favorite class of the day. You may be wondering, what did this Casady icon have to say on the subject? After pondering for a moment or two, Oliver declared it was afternoon class. He described how “it is different every two days, so on Mondays and Tuesdays it is storytime, and some days it’s science and some geography, [but] Spanish is the same.” Now knowing his favorite period of the day, we centered on one of his favorite subject matters: geography. Oliver explained how one of the crucial parts of the kindergarten geography curriculum was “fun facts about different places.” Following this revelation, Oliver dashed off to retrieve his ingenious fun fact of the day about Colombia which we read together. I have to say I learned a lot from that one little note card. Did you know that Colombia is famous for its coffee and soccer? If not, Ollie has you beat by a long shot!
After a brief break for some more pancakes and running around the room, we returned to our stimulating conversation. Colombia is nowhere near the only country that Oliver has learned about, as he and his classmates have covered “North America, the Ocean, and space!” Ollie then explained how he has learned “a lot of things” about his favorite location space. The planets, the solar system, and the inner workings of the galaxy were just a few of the topics his class explored. With wide eyes and a matching grin under his mask, Ollie launched into a lively explanation of his science class, first talking about the myriad experiments they perform. He even said how “sometimes [they] do art things,” as well as entertaining experiments to verify their hypotheses. Suddenly, with a swell of energy and excitement, Ollie described an experiment “where you would stick your hand in a bag of puff and put it in water, and then you would stick your hand in a bag of no puff, and then stick that hand in ice water” to see which one was colder. Ollie pointed out that “to everyone, the ice water was colder.”
We then launched into a lively debate over favorite playground equipment, but Oliver, being the enlightened genius he is, pointed out that the best thing on the playground is his “friends!” While his friends are no doubt the focus point, the balance beam was also an integral part of the discussion. Ollie may even have a future as an Olympic gymnast, as he described how he almost never falls off, and “sometimes [he] rushes through it and can do it” perfectly. Believe me, if you think that’s exciting, you will not be able to contain your enthusiasm when you hear about “lava monster tag!” It is quite a simple procedure where “someone is it and they are the lava monster and they tag someone and then they become the lava monster so you can’t be lava monster anymore, but don’t worry you can get tagged again.” In my opinion, this should be a professional sport with the raving reviews Oliver gives it!
Unlike most of us here in Upper Division, Oliver does not have the endless cycle of chicken granted to us by Sage every day. Instead, he gets to bring his own lunch where he often partakes in his favorite “sun butter and jelly or jam sandwiches.” Like us, Oliver appreciates the safety of masks, but they can be bothersome, so he looks forward to the reprieve that mealtimes bring. However, he recognizes how important it is to keep your mask on to “keep others safe, but [he] can’t wait for coronavirus to be over.” Until then, Ollie plans to continue expressing himself through his Thunder and space masks every day. Some of his masks, like one of the Thunder ones, even doubles as entertainment with squishy tags that “squeak when you pull on them!” Who knows? If everyone is as positive and cooperative as Oliver, the world may return to normal sooner than we think.
Let me tell you, this little boy has big dreams. We may have a “Cardinal or art seller […] or even a field hockey player” in our midst! It is safe to say that the future of Casady will be very bright if all kids are as spunky and clever as Ollie!