100 of this, 100 of that, get counting!

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How did you learn to count to 100?

Tough to remember, isn’t it? But you did, and once you did you likely annoyed the adults in your life by proving your newfound skill — over and over again.

These days, 100 has become the star of a popular elementary school holiday.

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Schools across the country now make a big deal about the 100th day of school. Teachers start counting at the beginning of the year, and when they reach 100 days of class time things get a little crazy.

In the Miss-Lou this year, the trend has been to celebrate 100 days by dressing up like a 100-year-old. The result is a level of cuteness somewhere between 4-day-old puppy laps milk and newborn baby discovers mirror. It’s just dang cute.

If you’ve missed the fun, photos from this year’s affairs at Cathedral, Trinity and now the Concordia Parish magnet school are all accessible on our newspaper’s website.

Other schools celebrate the annual centennial by having students bring 100 items to school — 100 buttons, 100 pieces of candy, 100 family photos, 100 stuffed cats, etc.

Some other teachers have students make T-shirts decorated with 100 items or necklaces bearing 100 Fruit Loops.

The theme can easily carry throughout the day. In PE students do 100 jumping jacks. In English class they write 100 words. In math they count out 100 blocks or weigh 100 pennies.

It’s an easy lesson to adapt, well, 100 different ways.

That likely explains why the celebration has caught on so quickly in such a short amount of time. When I was in school, there was no 100th day party.

Someone’s clever idea has led to hours of fun for students and a new lesson plan for teachers. But, what about the parents?

I’ve heard at least a few busy, working parents let loose the cynical gripe about the new task of collecting 100 empty peanut butter jars before the next day’s classes begin. Finding the appropriate attire to make your 7-year-old appear 100 is likely no easy task either.

Like so many age-old school projects, the work typically falls on the parents.

In my day, my poor mother had her fill of elaborate science fair projects, I know.

Today, the cuteness level sometimes expected for — or just perceived — is ramped up 100 notches though, thanks to the Internet.

Type in 100 days of school on Google or Pinterest and the ideas for your child’s project are endless, but not without work — parental work.

It’s part of the commitment parents make when having children, I suppose. And cynicism aside, the work can certainly be fun if the child is truly learning.

But for parents who’ve come from a different generation — one that counted on fingers and toes not with stickers and bows — adjusting can be difficult.

It’s not yesterday’s world, and school won’t necessarily be the way you remembered it.

Some traditions such as homemade valentines survive, but new ones are added annually.

The 100th day fad is likely just that, a short-term trend.

But until it passes, moms and dads may find themselves doing an awful lot of counting, decorating and dressing.


Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.