Obama Daughters Head to a New School

The Obama daughters head off to a new school.


New School for the Obama Daughters

Will Malia and Sasha fit in?

-Stephanie Elliot

ObamasWith the New Year comes big changes for the Obama girls – Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7. Yesterday, as I was cajoling my own kids into waking up and getting ready for the start of a brand new year at their familiar school, I wondered how the Obamas were managing with all of the new changes in their lives.

Malia and Sasha had their first day at Sidwell Friends School, yesterday where they are now attending the fifth and second grades respectively. I know how the family must feel with these big school changes, as only four years ago, we uprooted our family in the opposite direction as the Obamas – we headed from the east coast back to Chicago midyear and enrolled our kids into a new school.

It was hard, and waves of fear went through us all. I worried if my kids liked their teachers, how would they adjust, would they like their classes, would they get lost in the new school? My kids worried if they would they make friends, would they miss their old friends, would they like their teachers? Now four years later, they’ve settled into a comfortable and happy routine and everyone is good. I wish the same for the Obama family, but it is an adjustment, president-elect family or not.

Former graduates of the elite D.C. school include Nancy Reagan and Chelsea Clinton, so staff and students are not immune to when the famed and fortuitous grace the hallways. Many Sidwell students come from money and fame so while it’s exciting for the Obamas to be arriving, their attendance should not disrupt the school. Joe Biden’s grandchildren currently attend Sidwell as well.

Of the girls’ arrival to Sidwell, senior Piera Kempner said, “Students will want to catch a glimpse of them in the lunchroom, for example, but I really do think it’ll settle down.” And speaking of the lunchroom, who wouldn’t want to dine at Sidwell with a menu like this? At a $29,000 tuition rate a year, the menu better have something more appetizing than the standard hot dog and pizza cafeteria fare!

And one thing’s for certain, it’ll be harder for the paparazzi to catch a glimpse of the president elect’s daughters, and this is certainly one of the reasons Obama chose Sidwell. With an exclusive campus complete with fences, a long driveway and lots of trees, it’s very difficult for those sneaky cameramen to get those photos they long for! And for a dad who wants to keep his daughters’ lives as normal as possible, keeping the pesky paparazzi far away is a start!

Think the first day of school is hard on all moms?
Here, some Bettys share their feelings on what it was like when their babies went to school on the first day:

April: I cried on my daughter’s first day of kindergarten. I managed to drop her off without a tear, but then I sobbed – off and on all morning until I got to pick her up at 12:30. It didn’t think it would be such a big deal, because she’d been in preschool for the previous three years, but it was. I felt like she took the first step on a journey that would eventually lead her away from me and out into the world. She was so brave and excited – I was so proud of her – which made me cry even more! It seems like such a cruel irony that the better we do our jobs as parents, the more well-equipped our children are to leave us.

I think I’m going to cry now!

Stephanie, from her blog, manicmommy.blogspot.com

August 2005:

I actually got a lump in my throat and cried when AJ (second grade) and McKaelen (first grade) got on the bus this morning. On my way back to the house, I ran into a neighbor who is sending off his youngest of three to college tomorrow. It tore me up when he said it’s heartbreaking and to cherish and enjoy every single moment because it truly does go by so quickly. But now, it’s Tukey time! He and I are off to power walk to … of all places … Krispy Kreme! And Tukey just said to me: “I’m having the funnest day ever and ever!” I guess he’s not sad he’s got me all to himself today!

And August, 2008:

I am all alone. My babies are all gone to school.
I am here alone.
In my house.
With no babies.
No noise.
So loud,
It’s deafening.
It’s a weird feeling.
Can I miss them already.
So much?
I might feel like crying.
So maybe I will.

Julie: I was crying, beside myself didn’t know how he’d make it through the day without me, didn’t think his teacher would understand his exorbitant energy, etc. He RAN into the classroom, never looking back, leaving me behind with my tears. The only tears he shed were when I picked him up, and he threw THE BIGGEST fit of his entire life screaming and yelling and shouting as I carried him out of the building and through the parking lot that he didn’t want to LEAVE.

Stephanie Elliot is Betty’s Lit Lounge and Parenting editor, and she also answers your parenting questions at Just Another Manic Mommy. Visit her at manicmommy.blogspot.com or stephanieelliot.com.

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0 thoughts on “Obama Daughters Head to a New School

  1. I remember my older son’s first day. He wore a uniform including a jacket and a tie. I have a photo and he looks so serious and sad as if he was realzing he was already headed for grown-up life. But he says he only looked that way because the sun was in his eyes and he wanted the picture taking over so he get on the school bus and get to school.

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