School days are here again

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 14, 2004

With new notebooks, pens and pencils being bought at record rates and droves of parents and children hitting the local malls, it's obvious school is looming near.

The lazy days of summer are officially gone as all of the Lawrence County schools and others across the Tri-State begin their new school year this week.

Before the parents and kids ever arrive for the first day, there is always lots of work to be done.

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Beth Evans, a second grade teacher at Dawson-Bryant Elementary has been working for more than a week getting her classroom ready.

"I think we're as excited as the kids, getting in here and getting everything ready," she said.

Evans has been labeling supplies and lockers, stocking up her class' treasure chest filled with treats for good behavior and making goody bags for her


Referring to the treasure chest, she said that she uses all

the items in her classroom to make the kids feel welcome.

"Anything to make them like it (class), want to come back, know that they are a part of my class," she said.

Diana Akers, a guidance counselor at Rock Hill Middle School, has been busy getting ready for the first day by finishing up schedules and class lists for teachers.

"First day of school is chaotic. You have new students enrolling, kids who can't find their way, especially sixth graders are scared they're going to get lost," she said, later adding that the sixth graders, despite their fears, don't get lost.

Rock Hill Middle will be encouraging their students to be well read and organized this school year. The school is starting an incentive-based reading program and will also be handing out binders to every student with daily homework sheets.

Akers is also excited that the new butterfly habitat will be open. She thinks the habitat will be a good educational experience for them.

"Students simply learn better when they can see first-hand, touch and feel," she said. Previous students had measured off the area for the digging, planting and watering of the habitat.

One thing that Ironton Junior High School is doing to get ready for the first day is holding an ice cream social for the students on Monday. Students can get their schedules and meet their teachers.

Toben Schreck, the new principal at the junior high, is ready for school to start - he's been working in his office since the end of July.

Schreck said that junior high is an important time for students to mature.

"This is kind of a transition period," he said. Schreck feels it's important to teach students self-discipline and self-motivation at this age.

The schools are ready for the children, but are the parents ready for their children to leave?

Norma Pennington from

South Point said she's always sad when it's time for school to start.

"We're very close, so it's hard for her to go to school every year," she said. Pennington's daughter will be starting high school at South Point and is "a nervous wreck" according to her mom.

Amy McCarty, from Ironton, is happy that school is starting but sad that her son is growing older.

"I'm happy, but I'm overly cautious. I don't want him to grow up too fast," she said. Her son will be going to pre-school. The thing that makes school easier on her is that her son loves it so much.

"He loves school. He loves the kids, just loves learning," she said.

Sometimes the preparation work that the parents have to do, such as buying school supplies, can be trying on their patience.

"I'm aggravated. My daughter picked out a Strawberry Shortcake backpack, but I can't find a matching lunch box," said Tracy Shephard from Proctorville.

She has two children going back to school, a first grader and a freshman, at St. Joseph in Huntington.

She's prepared for her kids to go back, but there's a catch.

"I'm a school teacher, so I go with them," she said.

For the students who are going back to school, most are generally excited.

Madison Manns is a first grader at Covenant Christian School in Huntington, W.Va. She likes going back to school because she gets to meet new friends and see her teacher.

She already knows what she'll be learning in class this year.

"I'll be working on more cursive and about Jesus," she said.

When asked what were the best and worst things about going back to school, Nicole Keown, a fifth grade student at Kellogg Elementary,

could only think of a positive.

"The best thing is you get to go and see your friends," she said.

In Lawrence County, school starts Wednesday for Ironton City, Ironton St. Joe and South Point. Classes start Thursday for Dawson Bryant and Friday for Chesapeake, Fairland, Rock Hill and Symmes Valley.