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Spirit Of Community

For those who may have missed it, the buzz is back.

Earlier this month, over 5,000 students grabbed their back packs, notebooks and headed off for the age old ceremony of “the first day of school.”

For some, it was their first time in an unfamiliar place, while for the Class of 2018 it will be their last “first day” in Oakdale schools. The eve of the ceremonial first day, families ventured to elementary campuses so their student could check the class list and preview where they were to report the following morning. More importantly, they checked the list to see which, if any, friends would report to the very same class that they would.

Truthfully, this is a tradition I still don’t completely understand. I don’t recall doing this as a child, yet we have been participants for the past seven school years and this one was no different.

As the Community News and Education Reporter it is the time of year when my calendar and/or schedule begin to overlap. A time when I check which cap I wear to each given event. Doing my best all the while, to maintain my “mom” status, as much as my “lady from the Leader” identity.

Being the kids of the newspaper lady is both a blessing and a curse in a community of our size. To date we have been fortunate as a family, by a community which is understanding of the times I show up sans camera and notebook, completely owning my mom role. It is my first priority, as it will be just a handful of years before my duo is on to bigger and brighter things beyond the 95361.

The school year start, each and every year signifies true New Year for us as a family. It’s a time for fresh starts, new beginnings and continued learning. A time where we are fortunate to cross paths with new families, educators and community members.

It’s also a time when I have to put thought into, do I have the kitchen properly stocked for lunches. Do we have their class lists, to join the masses shopping for school supplies? And the ever important, how much did they grow during summer and how much clothing do I need to buy to see them through to fall?

With all this talk of school, students and the like, I recognize there is more to be covered within the community beyond the schools. Some community members are kind enough to remind me of this, as I apologize for not being able to be in two places at once. Yet make no mistake, if I can get myself from a fresh food event at an elementary school and down to the Senior Center for a photo op within the same hour, I will. It’s one of the many things I love about this town; logistically some things are more feasible than others.

Now as for travel time, if it’s during the 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. hour or the 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. hour, count me out. Juggling from one end of town to the next during this time is next to impossible. Reason? Simple. Those 5,000 plus students are being transported to and from some way or another. Well, that and experience has made me all the wiser. Welcome back to the community grind, I’m sure happy to be here.



Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.