Today is the Day - First Day of School in FHSD

Posted on 08/09/2016
Students are welcomed back in FHSD on the first day of school.

It’s a day of smiles, and it’s a day of tears. It’s a day for that first hello to long-lost friends (or at least friends lost over the summer), and it’s a day for first goodbyes from a parent to a child. It’s the first day of school in the Francis Howell School District (FHSD), and it’s a day students and teachers, as well as parents and administrators, have been waiting for. It’s another chance to shine, another chance to grow. Today is the day.

There’s so much going on, but everything pales in comparison to the magic of that first smile. “Even the kids who say they don’t like school,” Principal at Francis Howell Central High School, Dr. Sonny Arnel, said, “that first day of school is magical. It’s the first day for new beginnings, the first day for what can be. It’s the first day for the difference we can make in kids’ lives, and I’m always ecstatic about that!”

Students like Mason Pryor, a seventh grader at Barnwell Middle, are thrilled to be back. His enthusiasm inspired him to arrive early. “It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been in school,” he said in delight. “I couldn’t wait!”

Avery Thebeau, a fourth grader at John Weldon Elementary, was just as happy to be back. “I like my school,” she said. “It’s very nice, and there’s not any bullies here. There’s a lot of really nice teachers here, too.”

But going to a new school can be understandably nerve-racking for some. Myles Hulbert is entering the sixth grade at Bryan Middle School, and bravely admitted, “I’m kind of nervous about the first day of school, but I know I’m going to get through it and I’ll learn how to be able to get to all my classes.” Despite the initial nerves inherent in attending a new school, Hulbert is happy to have some change. “I’m happy that I’ll get new teachers,” he said, “and I’m moving around during the entire school day instead of being in the same classroom.”

It’s not just the kids and teachers who are excited, though. Parents get to see their kids reunited with their friends and teachers. Darin Absher, parent of Andrew at the Early Childhood Center at Meadows Parkway, said, “It’s exciting. Our son does very well and we’ve seen a lot of growth in him here.”

Some parents are sending their child off to school for the first time. The first day of kindergarten can be a little scary, and the separation anxiety always causes some sobs and tears… and that’s just the parents. Several elementary schools kept this in mind, and held what are called “Boohoo Breakfasts” for the parents of kindergarten students.

For moms like Crystal Lutker, the first day of school for their little one provokes a variety of emotions. “I’m so excited for her, but nervous…and sad...and all of the above,” she said with a bittersweet smile and an arm around her daughter, Kennedy. Lutker doesn’t take this precious moment for granted one bit, especially since she is celebrating for someone who couldn’t be there. “(Kennedy’s) dad is on a short tour to Korea,” she said. “He’s pretty upset he couldn’t be here; but we’re skyping a lot and doing everything we can to include him.” For Kennedy’s dad and all the others who couldn’t be there today, view the photo gallery of the first day from around FHSD.

Sohail Jchaj, a recent graduate of Francis Howell North, visited his alma mater to help welcome the students in for the new school year. “I love the energy at Francis Howell North,” he said. “Every time I come here I feel like I’m back at home. This is definitely like a second family here, and I just felt like I had to come back here to see all my brothers and sisters. It feels good to be here.”

Janelle Panosian, Resource teacher at Independence Elementary, was elated to see the kids again, and to absorb all the positive energy a first day can bring. “I’m hoping that it’s going to be a great year,” she said. “We’re implementing some new things, so I’m looking forward to see how all that goes. I’m just really excited.”

Principal Kevin Armour of Daniel Boone Elementary summed it up, “Our teachers and staff have been busy learning and preparing for students, and we are excited for the new school year! I hope we have a wonderful year filled with learning, building lifelong relationships, and celebrations.”

The first day of school is always full of new friends, celebrations, excitement and of overcoming some natural nerves. Crystal Lutker expressed the feelings of many students, staff, and parents when she said we’re feeling, “all of the above.”

Today is the day.

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