Students are happy and sad as the CPS school year comes to an end for the summer
Typically, kids are fired up for their last day of school as they head into summer vacation, the outdoors, and warm weather.
And there were certainly laughs and excitement on Tuesday as Chicago Public Schools classes wrapped up until the fall — but it wasn’t all smiles.
At the end of a school year that marked the return of most students to in-person learning after two of the toughest years in American educational history, students seemed to have gained a new appreciation for school.
Ethan Acevedo, who just finished second grade at Chopin Elementary in West Town, said he had mixed feelings about the end of the school year.
“I’m kinda sad that I can’t see my friends,” Ethan said.
Eight-year-old Ethan will miss playing tag and hide-and-seek the most. But he still looks forward to spending time with his grandfather, who picked him up on Tuesday. They plan to spend time at a water park, go swimming and fish in Lake Michigan this summer.
Any excitement Ethan might miss for the summer is made up for by his grandfather, Angel Acevedo.
“It’s great, he’s going to be with me all summer,” said the grandfather. “He is my life.”
Chopin’s children rushed to their parents at the end of the school day on Tuesday, with a large group shouting with joy as the exit door opened and bubbles filled the air.
Xailani Vargas-Modacure, like Ethan, was conflicted over the end of the year.
For one thing, she has at least one family tripping over the books this summer and fun activities in between, like playing ball games with her dad.
On the other hand, she is leaving Chopin for another school next year and she will miss her friends.
“But I have their numbers so I will call them,” said Xailani, 10.
Her last day of school featured a dance party and cuddling with her friends and teachers. She will also be spending time with a friend this summer.
And Xailani and her father had planned to start the break in style with tacos and nachos on Tuesday night.
“We’ve been planning it for months,” said her father, Etheria Modacure.
Other schools celebrated the end of the school year with a hot afternoon of parties and recess. The kids hit the basketball court outside Jensen Elementary in Lawndale. Faraday Elementary in East Garfield Park had a bouncy house and outdoor activities for its students, who were decked out in lime green shirts.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Pedro Martinez visited the Peace and Education Coalition Alternative High School, an option school in Back of the Yards.
The mayor and district officials promoted summer job opportunities and programs for students to fill their time and stay safe. And Martinez joked that students would be back in no time, with the district’s Labor Day kicking off Aug. 22.
“It’s been a tough year,” Martinez told an auditorium of students, educators and reporters.
“I’m just glad we were able to keep you in person at our schools. I’m glad we were able to end the year on a high note.