Over 13 years ago when our granddaughter started pre-kindergarten our daughter literally went "school shopping."
Years ago, in a move only slightly disguised as an attempt to avoid busing kids to achieve racial balance in the schools, Garland ISD declared anybody could go to any school they wanted as long as there was room. Only if a school was full would a student be required to attend their neighborhood school. This proved to be a brilliant move for Garland. We never had busing. We had racial harmony. And we even ended up with equally balanced schools quite naturally as a result. Most schools revolved around the neighborhood but a lot of times students ended up going to a school based on the location of their parent's workplace and sometimes this was clear across town.
It gave power to the parents and the students and nobody could complain. I've wondered why more cities haven't thought of the idea.
So when it came time for Emily to pick Sarah's school she had a lot of choices and what she ended up doing was brilliant. She picked out about five schools near her work and would park in the school parking lot and watch the kids on the playground. She told me she was looking for a "mixture" of kids. A mixture of races and a mixture of economic level. Emily said she didn't want Sarah to spend her days with kids who were all alike; she wanted her to experience all different kinds of people.
And that's how Sarah ended up at Dorsey Elementary School--based on the kids my daughter saw on the playground. Those kids went with her to Coyle Middle School and graduated with her from Rowlett High School.
On the night they all graduated together, as the class of 2017 prepared to walk into the arena to the tune of "Land of Hope and Glory", they announced that the class had voted to have their foreign born classmates carry the flags of their own countries following the American flag. With that, the music started and a marvelous procession of colors began down three aisles that included about 13 flags in addition to Old Glory's red, white and blue. There were the flags of Mexico, Guatemala, Great Britain, Spain, Cameroon, Japan, Russia, Nigeria, Iran and several others I didn't recognize.
All these years Sarah had been immersed in the colors Emily had seen on the playground 13 years before. Yet when I asked Sarah about the different countries it didn't register with her. It was just her friends. She had never noticed.