On Tuesday, September 3 Milford School District welcomed students at all five-district schools for the 2019-2020 session. Kindergarten families welcomed a new experience in their lives as families of high school seniors celebrated the culmination of their student’s educational career to date. The Stevenson family of Milford will have the opportunity this year to experience a wide array of milestones and emotions with children in all four school-levels of the Milford School District.
This year, the Stevenson family introduced their youngest child to Kindergarten as their other children attend second, fifth, seventh, eleventh, and twelfth grade. They have one kid at Morris Early Childhood Center, two at Mispillion Elementary, one in Milford Central Academy and two in Milford High School.
“Now that my youngest is in school, I’m looking forward to being able to volunteer and go on field trips with the younger ones and being involved more,” said mother Merrilee Stevenson.
As a mother of five, Merrilee enjoys the challenges that accompany a large family and states that communication between all parties is critical to family health. “My kids have learned to become their own advocates as well. I sometimes drop the ball and forget dates and deadlines,” she said. “They have learned that if it’s important to them, they will remind me persistently.”
From an early age, the Stevenson children have been involved with music. Starting piano at an early age, their son Julien now plays baritone saxophone; Tristan plays piano, mandolin, marimba; Rosalind plays trombone and Brendan plays trumpet. Evelyn and Dorian have not started yet. In addition to the intellectual benefits of learning music, Merrilee also states that schedules for smaller children in music are often easier to follow than sports.
“We have pretty much tried to stick to music instead of sports, at least in the early years, so regardless of age the kids had similar practice schedules and only one place to drive to for lessons. Sports tend to take over as far as games, tournaments, etc.,” she said. “Once they get old enough to stay after school, we let them do some sports that don’t require expensive equipment, like track, volleyball, or basketball, if they want to do it.” The oldest two ran cross-country and track their first two years of high school as the middle school daughter is in her second year of volleyball.
In addition to school and extracurricular activities, Merrilee believes that family time is very valuable, especially spending meals like breakfast and dinner together. “Even though the kids have free breakfast at school, I still make them come to the breakfast table every morning where I read from Psalms and Proverbs in the Bible and we discuss what part stood out to them and I pray for them,” she said. “Dinner is much harder to get everyone together for because of other commitments, but three or four nights a week we eat together and discuss current events, politics, and anything interesting that happened at school. It’s a competition to get a word in edgewise, but it’s certainly a highlight of our day.”
Through these experiences she hopes each child understands what is important to them as a family. “I want them to understand our values, beliefs, sense of humor, and love for God and neighbor and one another,” she said.
For this school year, Merrilee expects her children to do well academically as well as continue to grow socially. “My hope is that they will be challenged to work hard and to reach their goals,” she said. “I hope they also make friends and have a good rapport with the teachers.”
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