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Back to school: Mixture of excitement, nerves for new Columbus students

 

Students start their first day of school with breakfast provided by Sale Elementary Thursday morning in Columbus.

Students start their first day of school with breakfast provided by Sale Elementary Thursday morning in Columbus. Photo by: Zach Odom/Dispatch Staff

 

Third grade teacher Erica Lewis works with students on their first activities for the school year at Sale Elementary Thursday morning.

Third grade teacher Erica Lewis works with students on their first activities for the school year at Sale Elementary Thursday morning.
Photo by: Zach Odom/Dispatch Staff

 

 

Sarah Fowler

 

Nerves and jitters were on the menu Thursday morning as pre-K and kindergarten students started their first day of school in the Columbus Municipal School District. 

 

Parents and students had some tearful moments, but by the end of the school day, most children seemed to have settled into the new routine, school officials said. 

 

Jakobey Justice is a pre-K student at Sale Elementary. 

 

Shortly after being dropped off at school by his mother, Justice was sitting at breakfast with his classmates. When asked what his mom told him that morning, Justice said she kissed him on the forehead and told him to have a good day. He told her, "It's OK, I'm glad I'm going to big school!" 

 

The 4-year-old, who puffs out his chest when he says his ABC's and brags about his Spiderman backpack, said he hoped to "play, color in the kitchen and cook food" on his first day. 

 

London Whitfield, 4, was sitting next to Justice and proudly displayed her Band-Aid from her back-to-school shots before saying, "I know what we do today! We take a nap!" 

 

Whitfield said she also gave her mom a hug and kiss that morning, but their classmate, Kylan Cockrell, wrinkled his nose before saying, "Not no kisses! Hugs!" 

 

Daphne Bordelon is the students' teacher. Justice, Whitfield and Cockrell are three of her 21 students. Bordelon, who has been in education for 28 years, said many of her students have never been in a classroom. 

 

"At this age, some of them have never been in big school before, in a structured school setting so it's going to take some time for them to get used to how we do things," she said. "So we spend the first few days getting used to how we do things at school." 

 

Even though it was only the first day, Bordelon could already see potential in her students. 

 

"Some of them come in knowing a lot and some of them come in not knowing as much," she said. "So we have to start where they are and take them as far as they can go. Even though this is the first day of school, I'm already thinking of how they're going to be at the end of the school year. That's exciting, to see how much they learn and grow." 

 

In kindergarten, Savion Gaddy was worried that girls in his class would talk about the movie, "Frozen." When his classmate, 5-year-old Shelby Norman, said she had a "Frozen" backpack, Gaddy said, "See? It's everywhere!" 

 

After thinking for a moment, Gaddy referenced the characters in the movie, and said, "Anna and Elsa can sing though!" 

 

After the students finished breakfast, they walked to their classroom. Some students waved at each new face, while others hung back and clung to their teacher's hand. 

 

Principal Kim Long said first day of school nerves are to be expected, so she and the teachers try to make the transition as smooth as possible. 

 

"We try to make our first day as organized and as welcoming for our students," Long said. "We realize they've been at home all summer, most of them have been at home with their parents. So that transition of coming back to school, sometimes they're a little fearful...we try to have our staff members on board and in place, so when they come in they feel good and feel confident." 

 

The children aren't the only ones who are nervous. Long said she saw several parents wiping tears from their eyes and giving their child multiple hugs before leaving. 

 

"It was cute," she said. "I always love the first day of school because they come in, parents have their cellphones out, they're videotaping their babies...a lot of time the parents would pose them and take pictures. We try to welcome that. It's a celebration." 

 

By the end of the school day, most children were looking forward to the next day.

 

Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.

 

 

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