No one studied a map of China at the Comanche Intermediate Center yesterday, or  memorized the exports of Brazil.

    Math books sat unopened, spelling lists gathered dust, bags of candy were freely consumed, and everyone was rowdy - yet no one got detention.


No one studied a map of China at the Comanche Intermediate Center yesterday, or  memorized the exports of Brazil.
    Math books sat unopened, spelling lists gathered dust, bags of candy were freely consumed, and everyone was rowdy - yet no one got detention.
    That's the beautiful logic of the last day of school.
    And the more it changes, the more it remains the same.

The best things in life
     American schools do change, and they change fast. Still, some of our best educational traditions hang on, no matter what - and the last day of school is one of them.
No one knew this better than the exuberant group of Comanche students who tumbled out the front door yesterday, then rapidly climbed an exterior staircase, just because it was something to climb.    
    "We partied all day," said Anna Valles, 12, who had just graduated from the sixth grade. "We had candy, Cheetos, and soda, and we watched a movie. Then we played computer games - and we were really noisy the whole time. It was great!"
    One of Anna's colleagues agreed that the whole day had been a huge success.
    "Our class didn't stay in all day like you guys did," David Martinez, 12, told Anna. "We went outside, like normal kids, and just played - soccer, basketball, and touch football. And we went on the swings, too."
    Their friend, 12-year-old Ivan Rodriguez, felt that his own class had achieved the perfect compromise between indoors and out.
    "We had the best day," he announced. "First, we watched movies and had treats, and then we went outside after that. Most of my class brought cameras, and we all took a lot of photos of each other, because we all want to remember this year."
    Ivan's perfect last day had its bittersweet moments, however. One of his good friends will soon move away to Wisconsin, and he wondered if he would ever see her again,
    "Jennifer is a good friend, not just to me, but to a lot of people," said Ivan."A lot of kids were sad today, because a lot of kids will miss her. And Jennifer was  sad, too."

As soon as he woke up
    The last day of school was the first thing Ubaldo Mendez thought of when he woke up yesterday.
"As soon as I opened my eyes, I sat up and laughed to myself," Ubaldo said. "I thought 'Last day! Last day!' Then I laughed, because I knew we could make the teachers mad all day — there was no more detention for them to send us to!"
    However, just the idea of teasing his teachers turned out to be excitement enough for Ubaldo, who spent a peaceful day watching movies and playing soccer with his class.
    As if to make up for his prolonged good behavior, Ubaldo poked a couple of girls, who responded with gleeful shrieks; then he slid expertly down the bannister and retreated down Mulberry Street.
    Convulsed with giggles, seven girls watched Ubaldo until he disappeared around a corner.

Summer lasts forever when you're 12
    Eventually, the talk on the staircase turned to summer. Everyone agreed that next fall is so far away that it doesn't seem real. In fact, several scholars advanced a theory disputing that September will ever return at all, a position supported by at least half the group.
     The Comanche kids described the next couple of months in leisurely terms. They weren't interested in a lot of structured activities, and planned to take summer as it comes.
    "I'll just play with my friends all day long," said Anna. "We'll do whatever we feel like doing - eat ice-cream, ride bikes, and go swimming a lot. I bet we'll get to stay out late, too. Plus, I'm going to visit my cousins in California."
Ivan and David can't think of anything that will make their summer better than it already promises to be. The boys will be riding their BMX bikes, playing soccer, and perfecting their computer game skills. Oh, and staying out as late as possible.
    What else could anyone possibly want to do, once the last day of school is over?
    Summer came to Dodge City yesterday, and some people think it's here to stay.

Reach Claire O'Brien at 408-9931 or email her at claire.obrien@dodgeglobe.com