Janesville39.1°

Party marks beginning of school

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
August 22, 2009
— What’s good about going back to school?

Nothing, said a good number of kids at a back-to-school party on Janesville’s west side Friday night.


But if they thought about it, they knew at least one good thing: the party at the Galvan residence.


For the past six Augusts, Greg and Jodi Galvan have hosted a backyard party at their house for the classmates of their three sons and the parents of those classmates.


Jodi expected about 100 guests Friday night. She hosted more than 150 last year but found that was just too much for her backyard.


“It’s to celebrate education, to celebrate the fact of everybody coming back together again,” Jodi said.


But try telling that to the kids.


Even Jodi’s son Chris, 9, would not admit there’s anything good about school.


“It’s boring. It wastes time,” Chris said.


Chris said he’d rather put his time to good use with video games or TV. “I think summer vacation should be longer than school,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.


A group of Chris’ friends all hanging from his swing set on Friday evening agreed: They’re not happy that they have to go back to school Sept. 1.


But they seemed to have no problem with a party that included ping-pong, a disc jockey, games, prizes, and the main event for many of them, the jump house.


The Galvans’ oldest son, Aaron, is now going into seventh grade at Franklin Middle School. The next two are at Madison Elementary.


Two of Aaron’s friends since kindergarten, Jordan Schober and Brianna Boys, have been coming to this party since the beginning.


“It rains, like, every year,” Jordan said, but they still have fun.


Jordan and Brianna said the coming of a new school year is bittersweet for them.


“I’m kind of excited,” Brianna said without a lot of enthusiasm.


“I think seventh grade is going to be better than sixth grade,” Jordan offered.


But the girls said they look forward to this party more than going back to school.


One parent said she’s more than ready to send her kids back to school. Another worried about the coming-of-age trials of 12-year-old girls.


Jodi, meanwhile, was hoping the parents would also benefit from the get-together.


“Everybody gets to know everybody, and especially as the children get older, I think it’s very important the kids know that the parents will network, that we will be in touch with each other,” Jodi said.


The kids certainly noticed.


“They’re all talking over there,” Jordan said as she gazed across the backyard. “All of our moms are talking.”


Jodi, a former Janesville schoolteacher who now teaches at the college level, said parents are key.


“It’s the parental involvement which really makes or breaks how successful a student is in school, and that’s another reason why this party happens,” she said.


“It’s a really good time, and it’s a good way to get all the kids together and excited about being back to school,” she said.


A Gazette reporter did find two boys who were sure that the new school year is a good thing.


As they bounced inside the jump house, Seamus Murphy and Cameron Amacher, both 9, were emphatic:


“I want to go back to school because I get to see him and him every day,” Seamus said as he pointed at two other boys bouncing next to him.


“Yeah, it’s awesome going to school,” Seamus added.


“Everybody knows that,” Cameron agreed.



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