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Oswego Ushers In New School Year

OSWEGO, NY – It was a bit breezy and chilly outside for opening day of the 2010 – 11 school year. Inside the schools it was warm and welcoming, despite the continuous hustle and bustle of workers finishing off renovation work.

Leighton School volunteer Beth McCrobie welcomes first grader John Gioia to the beginning of a new school year.
Leighton School volunteer Beth McCrobie welcomes first grader John Gioia to the beginning of a new school year.

Returning students exchanged hugs and high-fives at all the schools in the district as friends were reunited after the hot summer.

Oswego Superintendent of Schools Bill Crist echoed the students’ enthusiasm.

“It was an exciting day. Everyone’s enthusiasm was evident as we visited the schools,” he said.

Though construction continues throughout the district, the school buildings are ready to go for the new year and all the students are safe, Crist stressed.

Mary Beth Fierro videotapes her son, Mike, as he heads to his first day of kindergarten at Trinity Catholic School. She then went to Riley Elementary to greet hundreds more students – as their new principal.
Mary Beth Fierro videotapes her son, Mike, as he heads to his first day of kindergarten at Trinity Catholic School. She then went to Riley Elementary to greet hundreds more students – as their new principal.

According to Bill Foley, district clerk, approximately 4,100 students walked through the doors as the Oswego City School District commenced the 2010-11 school year.

Kailsey Watts, a first grader at Riley Elementary, said she was excited to go back to school.

“Mrs. Devendorf is my new teacher,” she said. “It’s going to be fun.”

The district’s staff is prepared for the new school year, Crist noted. He encouraged all district employees to approach the year with a positive attitude and reminded everyone that attitude is critical to relationships, communication and progress.

Kailsey Watts sits with her mother, Nicole, and brother, Landen, as she waits for the start of the new school year.
Kailsey Watts sits with her mother, Nicole, and brother, Landen, as she waits for the start of the new school year.

That positive attitude was prevalent as students arrived Wednesday morning.

“We had a great opening. There was a lot of excitement and energy in the air at Riley Elementary,” said new principal Mary Beth Fierro.

“It is great, a dream come true for me. I am humbled by that I am able to do it in my hometown,” Fierro said of being appointed to her first principalship.

“Students at Frederick Leighton Elementary School came back today excited to return from their summer vacation. The smiles on their faces and cheerful voices showed their enthusiasm for entering their new classrooms, meeting their teachers and seeing friends, old and new,” said Julie Burger, Principal of Frederick Leighton Elementary School.

Yarlivese Rivera gets a hug from her father, Jorge, as the newest member of the Class of 2013 commences her educational career at Frederick Leighton Elementary School.
Yarlivese Rivera gets a hug from her father, Jorge, as the newest member of the Class of 2013 commences her educational career at Frederick Leighton Elementary School.

After the kindergarten students went in their classrooms for their first day, the parents were invited to the library for a “Boo Hoo Breakfast” sponsored by the Home and School Association.

There, they could meet each other, find out about Leighton School and relax with tissues nearby just in case they were needed.

“I must say, more tears came from the parents than from the students,” Burger noted. “We look forward to a wonderful year here at Leighton school. It is great to see our school community back again!”

“We had a great first day at Riley School. It was wonderful seeing the Class of 2023 come in, all 88 of them!” Fierro added. “We greeted them with smiling faces and things went great in the kindergarten classrooms with special area teachers all coming in for extra support so everything went smoothly.”

Matthew Oldenburg gets off the bus ready to tackle third grade at Riley Elementary School.
Matthew Oldenburg gets off the bus ready to tackle third grade at Riley Elementary School.

She spent the two and a half hours in the lunch room with everyone and welcomed them; and also talked about the expectations for the cafeteria.

After visiting all the classrooms in the school, the new principal reported, “Teachers and students are off to a great start and everyone seems happy.”

Fitzhugh Park Elementary was one of the schools where construction was still going on.

Principal Donna Simmons credited everyone involved with getting the school clean and ready for the returning students.

“It’s clean and nice and ready to go,” she said. “There were a lot of anxious students who were here, with a parent, at 8, quarter after 8 this morning ready to get back to school.”

Joseph Lazarski, principal of Trinity Catholic School, has an opening day chat with Jason Livesey and his son, Bradley.
Joseph Lazarski, principal of Trinity Catholic School, has an opening day chat with Jason Livesey and his son, Bradley.

For example, workers just recently laid the floor tiles in one section of the school, then cleaned and polished them up the same day, she noted.

She hopes to have all the work completed by the school’s open house on Sept. 29.

“We’re doing fine. The students are excited to be back,” said Joseph Lazarski, principal of Trinity Catholic School. “Everybody’s been very supportive and helpful.”

The pesky showers forced them to have their opening prayer service inside this year.

“We had balloons out front. They all blew away. They’re out there somewhere. But, it’s still going to be a good school year,” the principal laughed.

One of the new classrooms at Oswego Middle School brought smiles to the faces of the seventh graders.
One of the new classrooms at Oswego Middle School brought smiles to the faces of the seventh graders.
The Kingsford Park Elementary School community annually gathers for their “rainbow” photo.
The Kingsford Park Elementary School community annually gathers for their “rainbow” photo.