13.4 C
Niagara Falls
Saturday, September 30, 2023
Students celebrate their first day back
Julie Saggers with eight-year-old daughter Lennon McTaggart on her first day back at school. EVAN LOREE
One of Crossroads kindergarten teachers takes a kid by the hand as they get the students ready for their first day. EVAN LOREE
From left, Jackson Iannacchino age three, mother Trish Taylor and Logan Iannacchino age eight after pick-up time at St. Davids Public School. EVAN LOREE
From left, Georgia Leigh and Vanessa Rezza Grade 8, Mila Treanor Grade 3, Tomas Nolan Grade 7, Christopher and Sophia Treanor Grade 2, with officers Mark Fortuna and Rusty Engelen. EVAN LOREE
Amanda Marquardt with her two daughters, Danica (left) and Gwen. Gwen is three and going to school for the first time. EVAN LOREE

A few tears and lots of excitement as kids start a new school year

Here today and gone tomorrow. 

The first day back to school in Niagara-on-the-Lake was a whirlwind of activity for parents, teachers and kids alike.

As students disembarked from cars and buses at the busy drop off at Crossroads Public School in Virgil they were met by teachers and support staff, many in highlighter-yellow vests, who herded them into the school.

Parents Joe Finlayson and Sydney Bellows watched from the parking lot as their twin four-year-olds, Rio and Emme Finlayson, were escorted into the kindergarten playground for their very first day of school.

Daughter Emme was not so happy to say goodbye, as she stood at the fence, crying.

Son Rio, on the other hand, was off mingling with the other kids.

“She’s just not having it,” dad Joe said.

He admitted it was emotional to see his kids enter “the next stage of independence.”

Meanwhile, three-year-old Gwen Marquardt was also experiencing her first day of school.

Mother Amanda Marquardt told The Lake Report her shy daughter had been looking forward to her first day.

Her daughter has been “playing a lot of school” with her dolls at home.

Marquardt said she and her husband, both teachers, had been talking up Gwen’s first day of school at home.

Like Finlayson, the mother of three said she was a little nervous knowing that Gwen would be exercising some independence.

Trish Taylor, parent of two St. Davids boys, said it can be difficult – for her or any parent – to cope with knowing that her kids are at school missing her.

“You can’t really prepare for it, to be honest,” she said.

Taylor’s son Jackson is three and attending junior kindergarten at the St. Davids school.

After dropping him off “he was a little bit sad” but had a great teacher to support him, Taylor said.

The consensus among kids across town was that the best part of being back is getting to see old friends.

Even after spending her summer swimming and cottaging with mom Julie Saggers, eight-year-old Lennon McTaggart said she’s was glad to be back with her friends.

Lennon said her favourite subject is math and that she likes “learning new things.”

At St. Michael Catholic Elementary School, a few students got to hang out with regional police officers and learn about traffic safety.

Constables Mark Fortuna and Rusty Engelen set up a speed trap near the school to catch motorists going over the limit.

The two officers took a few minutes to chat to some of the school kids about the importance of traffic safety.

Six-year-old Christopher Treanor, among the students who got to meet the officers, lit up when he saw Fortuna show off his handcuffs.

Though there were no aspiring police officers among the kids, there were a few young writers.

“I’m writing a book,” said 13-year-old Vanessa Rezza. She described it as a murder-mystery.

Her 12-year-old peer, Tomas Nolan, said he had written a book about a historic playoff run by the Boston Bruins. But when asked for his favourite sport, he listed hockey second to soccer. 

Georgia Leigh, 13, is in her last year at St. Michael and said she was a little nervous to be moving onto high school next year.

But like the other students, she was “excited” to be back with her school friends.

It was a hot day to be back in the classroom, though, and not all schools are air conditioned.

St. Davids Public School is only partially air conditioned.

Principal Carl Glauser told The Lake Report they make do with what they have on a day like this and allow students to step into cooler areas, such as the library and portables, when they need a break from the heat.

A lot of work goes into making the first day of school possible for St Davids’ 420 students, Glauser said.

“If you were to walk into every teacher’s classroom, you can tell that they’ve been in ahead of time,” he said.

For him, the first day back is all about ensuring kids have a classroom ready and enough supervision to keep them safe.

Glauser said he also has a lot of “personal connections” to make on the first day back, especially with the parents of new students.

He said it’s important to make sure both students and teachers have a “great first day.”

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