PhotoOut-of-control classrooms, last-laugh pranks and papers being thrown to the wind as students stampede through the double doors after the last bell: those are images that come to mind when thinking about the last day of school.

But on Tuesday - the last day for Island public schools - it was the Tisbury School faculty, not the students, who were acting a bit zany.

"The last day of school for kids is the last day for teachers as well," principal Maureen DeLoach explained amid a swirl of teachers asking questions and turning in keys. "We're the ones who are probably all crazy!"

While the office staff was processing report cards and teachers were working on page-long checklists to close out their classrooms and order supplies for next fall, the students were behaving much like business as usual - although some wore bathing suits under clothes to be ready for the early release.


"We keep 'em going through to the bitter end," fifth grade science teacher Lynn Gatchell joked.

In Kim Moore's second grade classroom, students gave biographical presentations. Emma Kristal told the class about Eleanor Roosevelt and how the former first lady once had to jump off a sinking ship.

First graders in Barbara Lopes' class gathered as usual on the circular rug to do their morning greetings - hugs today, since it was the last day of school. Before getting into morning reading, the six and seven-year-olds recited the poem Baby Chick by Aileen Fisher to impress the visitors from the newspaper.

But not all classroom activities were academic. Fifth graders in Janet Stiller's classroom took turns talking about their plans and priorities for summer.

"My birthday, going to the beach and hanging out with friends," Maureen Menezes said.


Classmate Jackie Menton said simply, "I'm just going to enjoy being free from school as much as I can."

"I'm going to Brazil this summer. I'm going off-Island to go shopping and maybe see some concerts. Not much else," Julian Givigi said.

"That's actually quite a lot, Julian," Mrs. Stiller laughed.

In Lynn Gatchell's sixth grade science class, students sat quietly at tables in small groups, playing strategy games with obscure names like Abalone, Mancala and Batik. But their calm demeanors did not mean they were sad to leave the sixth grade. When prompted, each student rattled off reasons why seventh grade was sure to be better.

"Because of field trips - we get to go skiing," piped Yan Bricoli.

"Different teachers!" Lauren Dostal added.

"Being older. Being able to kick people out of the seats on the bus," Cassie Mello grinned. "What?" she asked when she saw surprised looks on some classmates' faces. "They do that on my bus."


Seventh graders at the Oak Bluffs School had similar thoughts - another year, another inch taller perhaps.

"I'm excited because we're going to be ruling the school! Everybody looks small to us," soon-to-be eighth grader Felicia Monaco said. "And the school year is shorter," she added.

The Island's eighth graders graduated last week, leaving the seventh graders with two days to get a feel for what it will be like to be the biggest kids in school before graduating on to high school. But some seventh graders were eager to have eighth grade over with too.

"We're all excited to go to high school, and eighth grade is closer to high school," Oak Bluffs seventh grader Mariane Quintao explained.

Classmate Skylar Ray was sure that eighth grade would mean bigger and better things for his class.


"No more telling you you're a little kid anymore," he declared. "We're teenagers now. The classes are more advanced."

At the Oak Bluffs School on Tuesday, the students were experiencing a more ceremonial last day. Tuesday was also the students' last day with principal Laury Binney before he takes a one-year leave of absence.

The entire student body gathered on the gymnasium bleachers and floor at 10 a.m. for a performance by the all-male a capella group Vineyard Sound. An awards ceremony followed, where students were recognized for outstanding participation, attendance and sports records. Mr. Binney and assistant principal Carlin Hart surprised the students with a Blues Brothers routine, complete with costumes and band accompaniment.

"It's a rare sighting," Mr. Binney said, acknowledging past performances for the staff and the middle school. "We do it infrequently, but we thought we'd do it for the kids."