By SHALWAH EVANS
The entrance to John O’Connell was empty , really empty Tuesday morning as it appeared that the last day of school—officially over at 3:10 p.m. — started early.
As cars zoomed down Folsom students trickled in and out of the building sporadically throughout the first couple of hours of the day. Some gathered in front talking about their plans for the summer months. Summer had already started.
“I have a lot of plans for concerts,” said Diana Cruz, who’ll be a junior in the fall. “I’m excited for my birthday to go see Paramore!”
The 15-year-old described the group as rock, but not “screaming” rock. She said she also plans to read a lot because she’ll be taking Advanced Placement English next school year. She said she’ll begin with The Color of Water by James McBride. Cruz’s friend Priscilla Trejo is also anticipating a lot of reading. The girls are part of a program at the school called AVID—Advancement Via Individual Determination, a college prep program for students in underserved groups. The incoming sophomore said she’ll be spending the summer playing soccer in Jamestown, from June until September.
Juniors Miguel Rodriguez and Bryan Lopez said they’ll be visiting family in Los Angeles and later it’s soccer with the Mission League for Lopez. The season ends in September and has 20 games.
Rodriguez plans on taking it a little easier. The junior said we’ll see him out at Potrero and parks riding his skateboard.
“But usually I like to ride in the street,” he said.
A handful of students stood outside chatting before 8 a.m., but there was hardly more than half a dozen students near the building at one time. Few stood the spring cold to socialize with peers on their last day.
“There’s about 30 students in the building right now,” said a security guard near the entrance.
He said most students would just go to drop off books, have class parties and say their last goodbyes. The special needs students will be there, however, said Special Education teacher’s aid Chris Harvey. “They always come to school,” he said.
Harvey is also a teacher’s aid at Las Americas Childcare Center on 21st and Treat Street in the afternoons. Now that school is ending for O’Connell he will be fulltime at the children’s center.
He plans to begin immediately. A brand new homeowner, Harvey said he’ll be spending the weekends settling into his new house.
Twenty-two year old Tyrone Kyth is one of Harvey’s students at John O’Connell. He’ll attend Galileo Academy for summer classes for five weeks before receiving his diploma. After that it’s all about painting and sculpting at an arts center in the city.
“It’s my dream,” he said with a smile.
Incoming junior James Jones was thinking about the summer but is also looking ahead to next school year.
“I want to get better at my work,” said the 16-year-old who plans to work as a counselor and helper at a summer camp in Mendocino until August.. “My work is good so far, but I’m just saying.”
Though some thought the day might end around 12:30 p.m. security guards said that it will indeed be a full day—students are officially dismissed for the summer at 3:10 p.m.