Washington County students excited and nervous about first day of school

August 22, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE |
  • Logan Longerbeam ponders his first day in third grade Wednesday at Pleasant Valley Elementary School.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

ROHRERSVILLE — Some students ran off the bus toward the front entrance of Pleasant Valley Elementary School on Wednesday, the first day of classes for Washington County Public Schools.

A few others approached the school cautiously.
Aidan Mills, 5, rode the school bus to his first day at Pleasant Valley, where he was starting kindergarten.

Aidan stepped off the bus and immediately saw a friendly face as his grandmother, Teresa Mills of Boonsboro, awaited him with a hug and a camera.

“He’s excited, but he’s nervous, too,” Teresa Mills said.

“I’m excited for him,” she said. “We bought him a bunch of clothes and a pair of shoes, and his little lunchbox.”

The school system is projected to have 22,195 students this school year. On Wednesday, 232 kindergartners through fifth-graders started their school year at Pleasant Valley, which is about five miles southeast of Rohrersville and is the southernmost public school in the county.


Terrie Biddinger, whose family recently moved from Carroll County, Md., to Washington County, took a picture of her children, Grace, 8, and Grayson, 6, before they headed into school.

Grace was starting third grade in Karen Tribett’s class.

To get to Tribett’s class, students walked through three other classrooms first, then found their seats and put their backpacks away.

Before and after saying the Pledge of Allegiance, the 17 students filled out a form so Tribett could learn more about them.

“The first days of school’s always exciting for everyone,” Tribett said. “It’s a time for us to get to know each other and to establish the routines for the year.”

Tribett had the students do various activities to get to know each other and her.

They sat in a circle on the carpet, rolling an inflated ball decorated like a globe to each other. Every time a student rolled the ball to someone, they welcomed that student, so they learned each other’s names.

Tribett used a variety of ways to get the students to make connections with one another, including asking them what they had in common with the character Sarah Hartwell in the book, “First Day Jitters,” which she read to the class.

Several of the students appeared enthusiastic about school, raising their hands to answer or ask questions.

Tribett had students write her a letter about themselves. As students suggested types of information to include, Preston Gmernicki suggested including what languages students speak. Preston, 8, said he speaks English and Hebrew.

While students were working on a project, a few of them shared their thoughts about starting the school year.

“I like writing and reading the most,” said Chloe Glattes, 7, who then added math to her list of favorite subjects.

Jasmine Leonard, 8, and Jacob Bonner, 9, said they like learning about science.

“I like to learn about different animals and insects,” Jasmine said. “I found lots of grasshoppers on my porch when I was trying to swim in my pool.”

Jacob said he likes to learn how to “make things, like how they blow steam and come out and like, like, poof,” he said as he raised his hands as if something went poof.

Ethan Troccola, 8, said he was looking forward to meeting his old classmates.

Asked who in his third-grade class he knew from last year, Ethan started rattling off a long list of names — “Morgan, Chloe, Jacob, Jasmine, Logan, Haley” — and on and on.

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