Accompanied by parents to elementary schools, bused to middle schools, or driving to high schools, area students again took up their roles as architects of their own futures with the start of another school year. Parents, crossing guards, teachers and school staff lent a hand.
First year crossing guard Bushra Safra works the crossing near South County High School. For the first day, she has back up from motorcycle and patrol police. With a heightened presence for the week to counter the confusion, traffic and new drivers near schools that come with school’s start, Fairfax County police are helping to keep students safe. With a shortage of crossing guards in the system, Safra and guards at other locations serve at multiple schools with staggered starts by school level.
At Laurel Hill Elementary School Principal Janice Dalton, now in her ninth year, comments that the first day is “always, always” special. “Success of the first day is when all kids are excited and that momentum carries from the start to the end and all get home safe.” Laurel Hill PTA members came with pompoms and enthusiasm to help parents either “Yahoo or Boo Hoo” about the first day.
Some parents, students or teachers, may think an Aug. 21 school start feels early. Reading specialist teacher Rachel Morris, of Laurel Hill Elementary, says she is used to an early start and appreciates a calendar filled with school holidays. Looking well past the first day, she points out that an early start makes for an earlier last day of school in June.
Enthusiastic seven-year-old third grader Mila Hicks, may have summed up the morning’s energy the best, sharing she is excited about the first day, her favorite subject is reading, and “I like learning.”