OSWEGO – “School can’t be starting today,” lamented one youngster Wednesday morning outside of Oswego Middle School. “It’s still hot; it’s still summer!”
Despite what the thermometer said, schools in the Oswego district threw open their doors and welcomed thousands of students back to the classroom.
“Our first day of school has been wonderful! Many teachers arrived early this morning to put balloons out at all of our entrances!” said Fitzhugh Park Elementary Principal Donna Simmons.
They also wrote positive messages in chalk on all the sidewalks such as “You were missed!” “Welcome back!” “You are fantastic!” “It’s going to be a great year!” “Always be humble and kind!” “Shine your light, believe you can.”
“When students arrived they were delighted to see and read the messages and see all the smiling staff greeting them,” Simmons told Oswego County Today.
“We had another great opening day,” said Kara Shore, Leighton Elementary Principal. “All of the staff welcomed our students with open arms and did whatever it took to keep them excited about the learning of the day.”
The school will host an open house on September 20.
“The Big M down the street gave us 13 backpacks full of food for our students,” Shore said. “I thank them for their generosity.”
“It went great! I love seeing the students and families return to Kingsford Park each year,” exclaimed Principal Mary Volkomer. “We have changed the drop-off procedure for the morning and it was smooth today. The telltale will be next week when families will be dropping off instead of parking and bringing their children to class. Monday hopefully will go smoothly as well.”
They broke tradition, slightly, at Charles E. Riley Elementary, according to Dr. Linda Doty, Principal.
Every year, on the first day, all the students would come out, surround the Peace Pole in the front of the school and recite a special pledge.
“Opening day has been wonderful! It is great to see all of the smiling students. I am working on (learning) the (new) names!” she said. “On Friday at 9:45 a.m. we will hold our annual Peace Pole ceremony. We all gather around the Peace Pole and recite our kindness pledge. Instead of doing it opening day, when there is so much other stuff going on, we decided to change it so students can let the message sink in.”
“Today was a wonderful first day,” Oswego Middle School Principal MaryBeth Fierro told Oswego County Today. “The students and staff are happy to be back. There are a lot smiling faces and positive energy at OMS.”
Everything at OMS was running smoothly.
“The students are happy to be back and are excited to see their friends and new teachers. Everyone is pitching in and helping out with giving students directions and other information. It’s a great day!” Fierro said.
A group of students (mostly eighth grade – but one seventh grader) wrote out motivational quotes for each student’s locker in the school.
“The quotes were posted on their lockers when they came in this morning,” the principal said. “The students and teachers love it!”
Fierro and members of her staff visited classes and lunch periods in order to make first connections with our students, she added.
At the beginning of each school year, the Oswego City Police Department has officers specifically assigned to the various school zones in the city during the first several days to serve as a reminder that school is back in session and that due care needs to be exercised.
Speeding in school zones, aggressive driving and passing stopped school buses are typical areas in which special attention is given.