For students, parents and teachers in McLean and Great Falls, the 2006-2007 school year began on a wet note Tuesday morning.
Traffic at all of the schools was bumper to bumper, with the rain only serving to make matters worse. Parking lots were packed with cars and devoid of empty spaces, and exiting the schools was somewhat chaotic as cars struggled to make left turns amid rush hour traffic and slippery conditions.
IT WAS STILL DARK as students arrived in a never-ending procession of cars at Langley High School, shortly after 7 a.m. The gray skies and torrential downpour only seemed to add to the students' gloom about being awake at such an early hour for the first time in months.
Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) members stood ready and waiting, pointing lost students — of which there were many — in the right direction. As students milled through the hallways with their noses buried in their schedules, morning announcements boomed over the loudspeakers and old friends greeted each other with enthusiasm tempered by the early hour.
The scene at Cooper Middle School was similar, as soaked students left buses and headed into school for the 7:30 a.m. start of classes.
At Spring Hill Elementary School, clusters of Parent Teacher Association (PTA) members huddled under umbrellas, welcoming students as they were dropped off by buses and cars.
Student sentiment about starting a new school year ranged from thrilled to dejected.
"It's okay," said sixth grader Warren Vernon, 11. "I'm tired."
On the other hand, when asked what she was looking forward to in the coming school year, first grader Disele Ghiassy, 6, had an enthusiastic reply.
"Everything!" she exclaimed.