Students, teachers prepare for school |

Students, teachers prepare for school

It's back to the books on Monday

Christina M. Currie

There are many things students will miss about the freedom of summer vacation, but the biggest, they said, is sleeping in.

Teachers have been preparing for the first day of school for weeks. Students are cramming days with activities they know they’ll miss.

Casey Jackson, who starts seventh grade Monday, said he’s giving up golfing and biking for school. The “cute girls” he expects to find among eighth-graders go a little way toward making up for that.

“I don’t want to go back because, well, it’s school,” he said.

Jackson is a little nervous about finding his way around a new school, but he and his friends are really looking forward to playing football.

“I think that it’s going to be a fun year because I get to play football and have parties and there are hot eighth-graders,” seventh-grader Christian Worth said.

Brittany Noland is looking forward to one last shopping trip before the school year begins, but that’s about all.

The incoming freshman believes — despite the assurances she’s heard from school officials — that she’ll be hazed.

“I’m scared, very scared,” she said. “I’m afraid I’ll get beat up or something.”

Noland said freshman year brings you four years closer to graduation and opens the door to extended privileges and a larger variety of people.

Hannah Terrill is not scared.

“Not one bit,” she said.

She’ll not miss having “too many rules” as a middle school student, but she will — like many others — miss sleeping in.

The school district expects to open doors Monday to more than 2,500 students ranging from preschool students to high school seniors.

Several events occurred near the end of the last school year geared toward making Monday a little easier on teachers and students. Freshmen were invited to the high school for an orientation and a tour of the school. They returned Friday to pick up their class schedules and were given free reign to find their lockers and learn the best routes to their classes.

Fourth-graders met their new principal and also were given a tour of what will be their new school alongside a sixth-grader who will act as a mentor.

For the district’s newest students, Monday’s classes will be cut short into an hour-long Family Connection time. Parents are expected to bring their kindergarteners to school and stay for the opportunity to meet their teachers and explore the classroom with their children.

For younger students who might still have some traumatic moments, experts offered a few tips.

“One of the biggest things, and it’s a very stressful thing for a child, is if they don’t have their lunch or their lunch money,” East Elementary School Principal Diana Cook said.

She said that among the chaos of getting a child and all their supplies to school on the first day, parents often forget to pack a lunch or to hand out lunch money.

Cook also recommended that parents be sure their children know how they’re getting home.

“If mom or dad comes the first day, that really helps,” she said. “That just really starts their day off right.”

Sunset Elementary School secretary Goldie Arroyo said the first day of school is not as chaotic or traumatic as many think.

“We’re just so ready for them that everything’s going to go great,” she said.

Although there’s generally some confusion finding classrooms at the beginning of the day, she said, students are quickly settled into the routine they’ll follow throughout the year.

Safety is a concern as students set out on foot, ride busses or begin driving to school. Cooks asks that drivers be extra aware and that students walking to school do so quickly and carefully.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or

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