Whitefield Academy Blog

The Carpool Line: A Sixth Grade Exodus

by | Oct 24, 2018 | Elementary School | 0 comments

Due to my chronic problem with being early to everything, I ended up sitting in the lunch room with the entire elementary school on Monday during school pick up. Let me describe this magical scene to you.

Imagine a lunch room filled with children…but they are all quiet and well-behaved. Some are reading. Some are even asleep with their heads on the white plastic tabletops. And at each table, a sixth grader stands watch over their flock.

Prepare yourself for the phenomenon.

Cars begin to drive through the carpool line. As each car pulls up with a number binder-clipped to its visor, that number crackles out through the walkie-talkie held by a teacher in the lunchroom:

“Eight! Single-digit-eight! Eight!”

One sixth grader is standing at the white board on the wall and immediately writes a large number eight.

Three children in family number eight tumble out of their seats, throw backpacks over their shoulders, and march to the door. The eldest (or loudest) of the family yells, “EIGHT!” and eyes the kid at the white board to make sure the number eight is erased. That family then strides outside to car number eight.

This practice continues for some time as cars and children continue to be matched up. “But what happens if the car of the White Board Sixth Grader arrives?!” you ask. Well, as children begin to dwindle away, the cry of “Sub!” breaks through the quiet. With knife-like precision, the White Board Sixth Grader passes the marker baton-style to his sub and follows his younger siblings out the door, yelling “Seventy-Two!” over his shoulder, a symbolic mic-drop.

With ease, White Board Sixth Grader Number Two has arrived and carries the mantle of writing the waiting car numbers on the board. Meanwhile, sixth graders are keeping the peace and reminding four-year-olds that making farting noises on their arms is not appropriate. One sixth grader even separates said four-year-olds with an expression that resembles her own tired and exasperated mom.

The pleas of “Sub!” intermingle with the crackles of “Fifty-six, five, six, fifty-six,” as students continue to file out the door to waiting minivans.  The beauty of this carefully oiled sixth-grade machine glows in the fluorescent lights.

I look around the room in amazement.  I expect sixth graders to play video games and tell “Yo Mama” jokes, not carefully manage and artfully execute a mass exodus of over 100 elementary schoolers. I clearly need to raise my expectations.


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