Forget what the poets say. It’s summer that’s the cruelest season.
It kicks off with a perfect three-day weekend and the beginning of summer recess from school, careens through another holiday/excuse for a cookout on July 4, then settles in with several leisurely weeks of vacations, afternoons by the pool and that classic lazy summertime vibe, only to come to a crashing halt at the conclusion of Labor Day weekend.
So many plans and so many possibilities for summertime fun back in June. So many summertime activities left undone by late August. So long to wait until we do it all again nine months hence.
And if summer is this kind of — to choose the perfect summertime metaphor — roller coaster ride for adults, think of how it must be for students, for whom the end of summer means the start of another long school year.
Students in the Clark County School District resume classes Monday. But, even as summer’s end beckoned, several valley students still were finding ways to wring the last bit of enjoyment out of the respite. They say their summers were good ones that will end with no regrets and few things left undone.
Take the kids who filled an activity room at the Sahara West Library recently to make tie-dye butterflies out of coffee filters. It was the perfect late-summer activity: a bit goofy, a lot artistic, and resulting in something that will bring back vivid memories of summer whenever they look at it.
Shriya Narang, who’ll enter fifth grade at Lucille Rogers Elementary School this week, had on her summer already-done list a few water park visits and a family vacation at Disneyland.
Anything that she hadn’t gotten around to doing? “No, not really,” she says. “I did a lot of stuff.”
Meanwhile, says Anthony Badami, 8, “I went to the pool. I went to the park. I went to the library.”
Badami says he might have liked to spend one of his summer days at Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, but never got around to it. Maybe at Halloween, though, where Badami says that on a previous Halloween visit, he saw “spiders on the walls — fake spiders.”
Makahi Curry, who’s entering fourth grade at Mackey Magnet School, says gymnastics was among the activities she pursued this summer. Also, she says, “I played outside with my friends and rode my scooter.”
Left undone: “I wanted to go to California, to a hotel,” she says, maybe even while visiting someplace fun like Knott’s Berry Farm.
Over at the Springs Preserve, Neil Provenzano, 9, was spending some of his summer attending the preserve’s summer camp. Not quite two weeks ago, he also was preparing for a late-summer trip to visit his grandmother and grandfather in Michigan.
It’s no Hawaii — that, he says, is the other place he might have liked to go this summer — but he was sure Michigan would be fun.
Clashing summertime family schedules didn’t give Samantha Swan, 6 and also a Springs Preserve camper, all the time she would have liked to spend with friends. But, she says she did enjoy going camping and visiting Arizona and Death Valley with her family.
Camper Alex Wigg, 8, stuck closer to home.
“I liked going to Wet ’n’ Wild,” he says, and, in a similarly aquatic vein, he competed in a swim meet this summer, too.
For older students, summer’s free-form nature tightens some as obligations are incorporated into the summer calendar. At Spring Valley Library, for example, several teenage volunteers have chosen to donate a few hours each week to help out, even as the start of the school year loomed.
It’s important to enjoy the relative freedom of summer, notes Jocelyn Anguiano, 15, “because while you’re at school, it’s homework, tests, stress and peer pressure.”
Still, summer does have a way of slipping away. Antoniea Prologo, 17, says that, when talking to friends at school about what they did during the summer, “all you hear is, ‘Oh, nothing.’ ”
Her own summer included spending two weeks dog-sitting for her cousin and participating in church youth group activities. She also enjoyed working at the library and having the chance to “help other people than yourself.”
Lori-Ann MacLean, 14, had hoped to visit her grandfather in New Hampshire this summer. That didn’t work out, but she did visit Utah on a church group outing that, she says, came, like summer’s best memories often do, out of the blue.
Lisa Lee, 17, began her summer with a two-week tour of Japan.
“I’m, like, a total anime geek,” she says, so the destination was perfect. Not surprisingly, some of her summer also was spent watching anime with friends.
The library volunteers remember when year-round school schedules didn’t allow them to have summerlong vacations. Antoniea remembers one year when her summer vacation totaled just one week.
“It was terrible,” she says.
Lori-Ann, however, prefers shorter summer breaks.
“I’m not a very social person, unless I’m at church” she says, so summer doesn’t tend to be her favorite season.
Anguiano’s 2014 summer memories include a family trip to Disneyland. She and other library volunteers also rank helping to create Candyland, the library’s children’s section, as one of their favorite activities this summer.
Mostly, the students enjoyed summer and have no particular regrets about things they didn’t get to do. Maybe, in the end, that’s for adults, who do seem to be more apt to fret about how summer just seems to move faster every year.
Tie-dye artists Stella Kennedy, 9, and sister Cassidy, 11, both say that their summers went along just fine. But for adults, their mother, Audrey, notes, everything goes quicker.
She laughs. For adults, she adds, “life is like a roller coaster.”
Contact reporter John Przybys at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0280.