Island students head back to school

Nervousness and excitement rule the day.

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Tuesday morning marked the beginning of a new school year for Island students, and although met with both excitement and nervousness, the first day shone bright with the promise of a new year of learning and exploration for students and staff alike.

Principal Megan Farrell expressed her joy in greeting the 427 Oak Bluffs students on Tuesday morning, and proudly discussed the school’s learning initiatives, which seemed to touch every grade. Ms. Farrell described a renewed focus on the early literacy program, and an effort to merge science and technology programs to provide more in-depth learning experiences at the junior high level, including a robotics program and a coding program. Ms Farrell recognized the amazing dedication of the janitorial staff in preparing the building for the influx of students on Tuesday, and also had high praise for the teaching staff, explaining that their commitment and expertise lend a sense of renewal and excitement to the start of a new year.

On his first day, high school senior Riley Craig said that he honestly felt good about getting back to school after what he described as a summer filled with work and tourists. Aside from his excitement about graduating this year, he is looking forward to continuing a great relationship developed last year with Ms. Ena Thulin in the history, politics, and psychology classes she teaches, and expects to further his interests in subjects that he already enjoys.

Hunter Meader, a high school freshman, was pleasantly surprised to find that the first day of school was nothing like what he anticipated, finding it far less difficult to navigate a new school than expected. Hunter iEs a middle linebacker and offensive tackle on the football team, and this year he is looking forward to taking advantage of all the sports offered at the high school level. After his first day, algebra looks to be a bright spot in his academic course load.

At the Oak Bluffs School, fifth grader Angelique Figueroa arrived on her bicycle to start her first day, and described her summer camping fun and her excitement about returning to school to make new friends this year.

Seventh grade friends Lanieca Haughton and Lara Pereira both expressed a mixture of feeling happy and a little scared about their first day of school. Lanieca said she looked forward to learning Spanish and making friends this year, and Lara said she was excited for new subjects, particularly science, because she loves experiments.

Meanwhile, the newly minted kindergarten students in Mrs. Julie Gaffey’s classroom settled in to class by creating personalized name tags. Class members reported feeling a mixture of nervousness and excitement, with one student remarking that their nervousness made him “want to go to first grade right away,” making an attempt to bypass the awkward kindergarten year entirely. Another kindergartener was feeling happy, “because I had three years in preschool,” and was apparently ready for a new experience. By all accounts, the first day looked to be a great start to a shiny new school year.