“It was a great opening day with students! Our staff, faculty and administration throughout the district worked tirelessly to meet the expected anxiety of our students and parents,” said Oswego Superintendent of Schools Bill Crist as the new school year has commenced.
Over 4,000 students started the 2011-12 school year on Wednesday, Sept. 7 and kicked off the new year in a very positive fashion.
Assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction Cathy Chamberlain said, “There was definitely excitement in the air that was palpable as we entered each of the buildings. Teachers and students shared their excitement to be starting the new school year. The day may have been gloomy outside but the tenor inside was very different as we walked throughout the buildings being greeted with smiling faces and students eager to begin their learning.”
Continuing she noted, “Each school fostered it own sense of community. It was clear that the excitement and anticipation of the start of the year had arrived and we are ready for the challenge of meeting the needs of all of our students.”
As always the Oswego High School and Oswego Middle School students were the first ones to exit the buses to start the new year.
At the high school Principal Brian Hartwell felt it was a very successful opening. He said, “Thanks to the efforts of the faculty, staff and students opening day was a winner. The presence of the faculty and staff throughout our hallways, coupled with the great energy and enthusiasm that they chose to exude, make me a very proud member of the OHS team.”
Continuing he said, “Excellence is an attitude that is quite contagious. We have high behavioral and academic expectations for everyone this year. Our students and our school will reap the benefits of our collective team efforts.”
Meanwhile, along Fitzgibbons Blvd. the newest seventh graders were joining the population at the Oswego Middle School.
New principal Mary Beth Fierro welcomed the students, faculty and staff. She talked about the wonderful team effort that brought this successful first day to a conclusion.
Fierro explained, “Everything ran very smooth. The building was shining, thanks to Rob Russell and the custodial crew at OMS who have worked very hard all summer to get the building ready. Students entered the building smiling and enthusiastic and ready for a great year.” She also thanked the efforts of Dennis Jerome and the food service staff, Assistant Principal Sean Fahey, school security and the secretarial staff for “pitching in and helping to get the job done.”
The new principal noted that special attention had been given to the newest members of the school…the seventh graders.
She said, “We worked very hard over the summer to ensure that the seventh graders had a smooth transition into the Oswego Middle School. We believe that the seventh grade orientations helped considerably in making certain that they had a great opening day.”
The five elementary schools opened and despite the overcast, gloomy and rainy conditions there were still huge smiles on the faces of the backpack carrying youngsters. Certainly there were some kindergarten students who were a big nervous, but they were taken under the wings of teachers and siblings as the members of the “Class of 2024” began their academic journey.
Special attention was given to the kindergarten students at Fitzhugh Park Elementary School. Principal Donna Simmons said, “The kindergarten students were the first ones off the bus so all of our teachers and hallway helpers could help them find their rooms without them being stampeded by the rest of the older students.”
Continuing she said, “I visited every classroom and welcomed everyone back for a new school year. I started the day off with an announcement which talked about all the possibilities the new school year was going to bring to us. I discussed making promises to ourselves and others to work hard, have fun and to keep our eyes open to the awesome possibilities that a good education has to offer.“
Things got off to an interesting start at the Frederick Leighton Elementary School. Principal Julie Burger said, “Our day began before the students entered with the fire alarms going off due to steam from cooking in the kitchen. The heat sensors and alarms are doing their job and everyone did as they should and exited the building.”
However when the building reopened, Burger noted, “It was exciting to hear the students and parents comment as they walked through our new front entrance with ‘ooooohhh and ahhhhs’ about how beautiful it looks. It felt so good to have an entrance where all visitors come through the main office first before entering the building. Our nurse, counselor, and school psychologist are also right here in the front of our school; to not only meet the needs of our students, but to maintain the security of the building while meeting the needs of our community. This makes me feel proud of our district.”
The Frederick Leighton Elementary Home and School Association sponsored a “Boo Hoo Breakfast” for kindergarten parents to gather, meet each other and share refreshments after dropping their children off in their classrooms.
Burger concluded by saying, “As I walked down the hallways of our school and in classrooms, I saw staff teaching expectations; I watched students engaged in their learning and making connections with our staff and school. It was a great first day!”
Similar scenes were present at the Kingsford Park, Minetto and Charles E. Riley Elementary School. Building changes had taken place during the summer months.
Superintendent of Schools Crist noted, “While visiting school buildings, I witnessed positive and energetic enthusiasm as students rekindled friendships and sparked new relations anticipating a year of learning. The start of each school year launches a new beginning of an exciting journey of inquiry, exploration and discovery.”
As someone shouted on opening day “Happy New Year” and welcome back to the students, faculty and staff for what everyone hopes will be a great year.
Photo Caption: Teacher Kathleen Zerrahn escorts some of the new kindergarten students from their bus to the lobby at Leighton where the youngsters joined their other new classmates