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Chesy opens doors for kids

CHESAPEAKE — Cheseapeake Elementary Principal Jack Finch stood at the door of his school Friday night welcoming his newest students. He smiled and greeted nearly 100 kindergartners, their parents and other family members, who filed into the school for the annual back-to-school picnic, an event only for those just starting their educational journey.

Finch said the picnic is designed to ease the fear of both the students and their families who may be apprehensive about the start of the school year. Friday night, they were given tours of the school and given time to meet the kindergarten teachers and peruse through their classrooms.

“It’s a time for the kids to get together and be in the building with their neighbors, family and friends,” Finch said. “No other grades are here, it’s just for those entering kindergarten. We think this really helps to ease the fears of everybody involved. They can come and see everything and meet their teachers before the first day of school.”

The principal said Friday was the first day of many of the youngsters’ educational careers.

“We want to do everything we can to make it the very best it can be,” he said.

There are six classes of kindergartners this year at Chesapeake.

Jessica Hicks and her twins, Trey and Taylor, were one family on hand for the picnic. She said the family is excited about the new school year, but a little apprehensive at the same time.

“It is a little nerve-wracking. But, I think I’m having a harder time with it than they are,” said Hicks of her five-year-olds.

The twins were born prematurely and have had numerous health problems over the years. Hicks said this has led to her to be more overprotective, thus making it harder for her to send her kids to school.

“There is some level of anxiety,” said Hicks, who also has a 3-year-old and another baby on the way. “But, we’ve heard great things about the schools, so we know that it will be OK.”

Another anxious parent is Jeff Marks, whose son Payton will be also be starting kindergarten. Although the 5-year-old has attended preschool for the past two years, his father said there is still some level of apprehension about taking that first step into elementary school.

“We’ve been prepared, but it’s still hard leaving him,” Marks said. “It is scary when you think about it, but I think most parents feel that way.”

Although the parents may be jittery, the kids seem to be taking it in stride.

“I think it will be fun because I get to play on the playground,” said Courtney Hart.

The kindergartner said she was also excited about meeting new friends.

School begins Friday.