Sunday, September 6, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Fifth Grade Memories

Randy picked a great topic for me this week for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, because I had a very special 5th-grade experience.

1)  Remember when you were 10 or 11 years old and in fifth grade at school?  Was that one of the best times in your life?  Or not?

2)  Tell us about your fifth grade memories and the highlights of that time of your life - in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or on Facebook or Google+.

I attended 5th grade at Woollahra Demonstration School in Woollahra, a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.  My family moved to Australia in late March 1971, and I left before the end of the school year in the U.S., not quite completing 3rd grade.  Australia has summer from December to March, and the school year runs from January to December, with only a short summer break.  I came into the 4th grade a little late at Daceyville Public School, but based on my academic performance it was recommended I attend Woollahra, which had a program for 5th and 6th graders with only gifted students in the classes.

By the time 5th grade started we had been in Australia for almost a year, so I was no longer the kid with the American accent.  I pick up accents fairly easily, and by 1972 I sounded relatively "normal."

Public schools in Australia required school uniforms when I was there (I don't know if they still do).  I had gotten used to that at Daceyville, but of course I had all new uniforms at Woollahra.  I saved all my uniforms and have them stored away.  I particularly remember my sports uniform, which was a short dress of royal blue cotton.  Friday was sports day.  My everyday uniform was a dark blue skirt and sweater, worn with a white blouse.  A tie was part of the uniform, so I learned to tie a classic Windsor knot at the age of 9, which is how old I was when school started.

We started every day with morning assembly.  We stood out on the playground and sang the Australian and British national anthems, and then heard the day's announcements.  This is when I learned that it's bad for most people to lock their knees and stand for extended periods; every now and then someone would faint.  I also learned that for some reason I can lock my knees and not faint.

One of the class sessions was sewing.  I don't remember if it was only for the girls, but it probably was.  We learned embroidery and simple stitching.  I still have the apron I made in class.

I don't remember anything specific about the academic classes, just that I found them more challenging than those in the U.S.  When my family returned to the U.S. in 1973, I had only two months of the 6th grade, and I ended up explaining one of the textbooks to my teacher.

That's about all I can remember, other than how disappointed I was that I wouldn't get to attend 6th grade there also.  I'm impressed that Randy can remember so many of his 5th grade experiences so well, because they happened 20 years earlier than mine!

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