Yadkin County Schools welcomed students back Monday with a half day due to the eclipse.
“There’s lots of excitement about the eclipse,” said Boonville Elementary School Principal Annette Johnson. “An early release will help us smooth out the bus routes and it’ll gives parents the opportunity to share the eclipse with their children in whatever setting they wanted to do that.”
For some students, the day couldn’t be more exciting as they took on their very last first day of school, at least until college.
“It’s pretty cool [to start on the day of the eclipse],” said Reina Ruiz, a senior at Starmount High School, who recommends underclassmen not worry too much. “Some of the things that you are stressing over, it’s not going to matter.”
Although Ruiz is ready to be done with school, she is still looking forward to figuring out where to go to college and what she wants to study, however senior week, prom and football games are also high on her list.
Also a Starmount senior, Carson Hemric is looking forward to football. “It just got started,” said Hemric, who has found being the son of the principal of his high school less difficult than one might expect.
“We ought to be pretty good,” said Hemric, who most anticipates playing Elkin and Forbush games because of the rivalry. “It’s always a good atmosphere.”
Part of that reason may be the general atmosphere at Starmount. “All the teachers here are great,” said Hemric. “Everybody has really got a pretty good attitude about everything here.”
A good attitude also existed at Boonville Elementary, where students were anticipating their classes.
Fifth-grader Keely Martin was looking forward to her science class. “It’s just something I can do very easily,” said Martin.
Daisha Mcbride, a fellow fifth-grader, anticipated doing fractions in her math class, but that wasn’t all she was eager for on the first day back to school. “I like that I make new friends,” said Mcbride.
“I think it’s going to be great to start fresh and make new memories,” said Martin.
Principal Johnson understood the excitement to see old friends and make new ones. “We’re a very tight-knit school and so it’s great to see all of our friends that we’ve missed this summer,” said Johnson.
“The staff has worked very hard getting the school ready,” said Johnson as she greeted every student and parent as they walked past. “The classrooms look wonderful and we’re excited to bring our students back.”
“We’re excited about the new year and the things that it holds,” agreed Starmount Principal Cody Hemric. “It’s always great to come back.
“The students, sometimes as high school students, they don’t want to tell you that they’re excited,” said Hemric. “Kindergarten, first grade, second grade, the little kids a lot of times they’re really ready. They’ve got their book bag on and they’re all excited. They run down the hall to their teacher and they’re happy to be there.
“Teenagers sometimes want to portray that they’re cool and they’re not as excited, but they’re excited,” he said. “Once they get here on campus and you see them interact — if nothing else it’s great to be back with their friends and to see people.”
The reason, claimed the principal, is the relationships with the teachers, “because the teachers care about them. We all care about them,” said Hemric.
“All educators love kids and when you can get in and form relationships and just help them grow and do great things, it’s just a great opportunity to be a part of those kids lives,” said Johnson. “Education is just a great way to care about kids and let them know you care about them.”
So is feeding them.
As a cafeteria worker at Forbush Middle School, Nichole Abernethy shows she cares by not only facilitating meals but by trying to ensure continued funding of important programs.
“Some of the schools have universal breakfasts now, which means free breakfasts to every student. It doesn’t matter what your income,” said Abernethy.
“We want everybody to have a good start off to every day at school,” however the program funding will only last for as long as the numbers show that it is being used. “Even if you ate breakfast or don’t need free breakfast, I want you to go through the line,” said Abernethy. “If we don’t have a certain amount of kids coming, then they’ll cut it out and go back to having to pay for [breakfast].”
Whether the programs are nutritional, educational or behavioral in nature, the plan for the new school year for all Yadkin County schools is the improvement of the young people in the county.
“The goal never changes,” said Hemric, “to make sure students succeed.”
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.