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first day of school

REXBURG- Tears flow freely as Kim B. Clark watches his successor, Clark Gilbert, pack up his sack lunch and get on the bus for his first day of school at BYU-Idaho. The first day of school is never easy.

From a window at the front of the bus, Gilbert waves energetically to Clark. The waving is both a gesture to his mentor as well as an attempt to dismiss the pesky thoughts lurking in his head. What if the kids don’t like me? How will I know how to get around? Don’t you have to get voted in to be president?

At noon, the silence of Gilbert’s new office is broken by the ringing of the telephone. It’s Clark. He wants to make sure everything’s okay. Did you get my note in your lunch? Are you having a good time? You didn’t change the beard policy did you?

Gilbert reassures Clark that all is well. Clark can’t hear the teardrop sliding effortlessly down Gilbert’s cheek. Time for lunch.

Gilbert sits by himself in the Crossroads. He looks at all the kids having fun and wonders if he’ll make any friends at this school. Soon, a nice-looking fellow introduces himself and asks Gilbert if he can join him. A friend! I’ve made a friend! School won’t be so bad after all! Wait, you’re off-track next semester? Hmm, not sure if I actually want to invest in this friendship or not. Well, nice knowing you.

Meanwhile, Clark stands at a distance, watching, praying that Gilbert is happy. He fights the urge to run and embrace him and tell him that everything will be alright.

The first day of school is never easy.

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