Thirty-four years after a girl’s first day of kindergarten, her daughter follows suit.
By Johanna Love, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
September 5, 2012
In preparation for her first day of kindergarten, Dylan Visosky got a haircut, blowout and mani-pedi at Frost Salon.
Her mom, Jennifer Prugh Visosky, watched Aug. 28 as her stylist, Jen Jeffers, worked the blow-dryer against a round brush.
“She’s such a girly-girl,” Visosky said. “She loves clothes and hairstyles, but always wears tennis shoes. She wants to be able to run with the boys and play and do it all. She’s been picking her own clothes since she was 2 1/2. I love it. She does what she wants to do. It’s such a personal statement.”
Visosky bet Dylan would choose a dress — 99 percent sure — for her first-day-of-kindergarten outfit.
Thirty-four years ago this week, Visosky was preparing for her own first day of kindergarten, picking just the right dress and tights three days in advance. The Jackson Hole News published a front-page story about her starting school. The italicized prose below is pulled from that story.
All of Jennifer’s energies were directed toward the question of what to wear that first day. “She is very feminine,” Peggy [Prugh] says.
School is old hat for Dylan. She’s been in day care or preschool since she was 7 months old. On Aug. 23, she graduated in a cap and gown from Fireflies Preschool. She turned 5 that week and had a princess sleepover with her friends.
“Monkey, you look very sleek,” Visosky said as Jeffers removed Dylan’s cape, revealing her turquoise Wonder Woman T-shirt and ribbed floral leggings.
Visosky picked Dylan up for a giant hug, but the little girl objected: “Don’t mess my hair!”
The duo adjourned to the pedicure chairs and began chatting about movies and vacation plans. “The Lorax” is a new favorite movie in the Visosky household.
As nail technician Patty Hood filed her toenails, Dylan said, “That tickles, mommy!”
Not many young girls get the royal treatment at Frost, Hood said.
“Dylan’s pretty special,” she said.
After their nails were finished — hot pink with bunny art for Dylan and teal green for her mom — they met dad Dan Visosky for the kindergarten open house.
Inside Davey Jackson Elementary School, the family greeted homeroom teacher Chris Bessonette and began unloading supplies from two large shopping bags: glue sticks, hand sanitizer, Ziploc bags.
Dylan’s best friend, Kat Ankeny, walked by with her parents on her way to a different classroom.
“The Fireflies teachers requested that they get split up,” Visosky said, “because when they’re together, there’s nobody else.”
Dylan is entering a dual-immersion class. Half the day will be spent learning in Spanish. It’s something that Visosky couldn’t have imagined 34 years ago but that she and her husband want Dylan to do.
“We wanted to give her the opportunity to learn another language,” Visosky said. “She has such a love for learning.”
During the open house, the Visoskys walked into Maestra Katie Schult’s classroom and were immersed. Schult did not speak any English words to the incoming children or their families.
After spouting out a warm welcome, Schult asked Dylan her name.
“Como te llamas? Schult asked.
Her parents understood that one. “Dylan.”
“Mucho gusto, Dylan! Habla Espanol?” Schult said, making eye contact with each member of the family.
“I can understand it, a bit,” Visosky said.
Schult let loose with long string of sentences about the classroom and the view of the National Elk Refuge. Finally, Visosky said, “Rosetta Stone?”
Everyone laughed. Dylan looked intimidated. Schult turned to greet another family.
“She’s just going to speak Spanish to you all the time,” Visosky said, squatting down and giving her daughter a squeeze. “But that’s why you’re here, right?”
At 7:02 a.m. on Aug. 29, the first day of school, Dylan perched at the kitchen island in her house in South Park eating Cheerios as her dad bounced around the kitchen. He finished packing lunch, sipping coffee and making toast while Dylan and little sister Izzy, 2, watched.
Dylan was already dressed in her first-day-of-school outfit: a blue T-shirt with a rhinestone peace sign on the front, fuchsia ruffled cardigan, light pink shorts, striped socks and new tennis shoes.
Dan Visosky packed no less than nine separate items for her lunch: hummus sandwich, pasta, applesauce, sliced nectarine, granola bar, yogurt, cheese, banana, dehydrated corn.
“She’s an eater,” he said.
A peanut butter ban at Davey Jackson makes parents work a little harder on the brown-bag front.
“She loves peanut butter,” he said. “She eats peanut butter every day.”
Jennifer came down, and her dad dashed upstairs to get dressed.
Josh Miller, Dylan’s godfather, snuck in the door for a hug and to wish her good luck on her first day.
“I love your new haircut,” he said, heading back out.
Izzy nibbled on a slice of toast with agave syrup, and Dylan played a game of pretend with her mom.
“Can I have a popsicle?”
“Here you go.”
“Thanks! Mmm! I want a lollipop, ice cream and chocolate!”
“Before school?” Jen Visosky asked. “Mr. Chris would love us.”
Her husband reappeared in the kitchen. It was only 7:40 a.m.
“Can we go?” Dylan asked.
“We can’t leave yet,” he said. “We still have 50 minutes until school starts.”
At one point, Jennifer decided it must be time to leave and headed out the door, but her father put a stop to that. “It’s only a quarter of eight, Jennifer,” he told her, “and I’d like a glass of orange juice.” Finally, Greg couldn’t hold her back any more. When they got to school, they were the first ones in the classroom.”
“I am excited, but not nervous,” Dylan said to her dad.
Walking down the sidewalk by the red schoolhouse, Dylan held hands with both parents. Her mom wore Dylan’s butterfly-bedecked backpack slung over her shoulder.
Best friend Kat showed up, and the girls posed for photos together. Each wore a headband with a huge fabric flower.
Greg Prugh Sr., came to help deliver Dylan to her first day of school, just as he did 34 years ago with Jennifer.
“God, I remember this,” he said, looking around Bessonette’s classroom at the parent-child pairs saying goodbye. “Both joy and sadness. I feel it now.”
Dylan found her name tag and a slip of white paper with her name printed on it. At her teacher’s invitation, she sat down at a small table and began to use a can of colored pencils to color in the letters.
Red pencil for the D, blue for the Y. She concentrated on staying within the lines, peeking up at other kids as they filed in, hugged goodbye and sat down. Green L.
“A lot of the first three days is ‘this is how we go to the bathroom, this is how we walk in the hall,’” Bessonette said to a parent. “The basics.”
Jennifer Visosky gave Dylan a squeeze and whispered farewell, and Dan did the same. Then they stayed on the fringe of the classroom as the clock ticked past 8:30. Dylan colored a blue Y, a red N.
“She’s totally fine,” Jennifer said. “It’s amazing.”
Jennifer clung to her father’s hand and looked around apprehensively. When Greg leaned down to kiss her, tears filled her eyes and she buried her head on his shoulder. “Don’t go,” she told him, suddenly scared.
At 8:40 a.m., Bessonette clapped his hands three times.
“If I clap like that,” Bessonette said, “I would like you guys to clap the same way. That means your eyes up here and ready to listen.”
Schulz’s class filed in to join Bessonette’s, and they all sat “crisscross applesauce” on the rug. Bessonette read the book “First-day Jitters” a page at a time in English, and Schulz read each page in Spanish so the students could hear both languages.
At 8:48 a.m., Bessonette asked the students whose parents were still there to bid them adieu.
“Go say goodbye and tell them ‘We’ll see you after school,’” he said. “And then come on back.”