Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

August 26, 2013

Return to school brings joys, excitement

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — As if the first day of school wasn’t traumatic enough, Corsicana kindergartner Zoe Johnson lost her first tooth that morning.

Still, Zoe and her sister, Heavynne, were on time and ready to go in their new clothes with backpacks when the doors opened for business Monday at Fannin Elementary.

The girls spent their summer running track and swimming, and Zoe also learned to read this past summer, according to grandmother Shirley Franklin.

All the students at Fannin were greeted in the front hall by a Tiger mascot, with whom they took a photo and loud music (”Eye of the Tiger,” of course), as they were ushered to their classrooms by volunteers and teachers.

Valerie Ann Cruz, also a kindergartner, was dressed up in her new clothes, holding mom’s hand a little as they stood in line together. She smiled sweetly when it was her turn with the Tiger.

“She’s so excited about it, the books and everything,” said Homero Cruz, her father.

For the most part, the first day of school went well around the county, and most school districts are reporting surprising gains in enrollment numbers.

Corsicana might need to add some last-minute hires, said Superintendent Diane Frost.

“Many classrooms were full to capacity, and some were beyond capacity. We will review the enrollment numbers each day this week and make a decision after Labor Day about the need to hire additional staff,” she said.

“This year’s first day of school was energized, positive, and exciting,” Frost said. “As I visited campuses during the course of the morning, I saw happy students and teachers who were obviously looking forward to greeting each other after summer break. There were a few tears, but most of those were parents dropping of their kindergartners for the first time.”

Preliminary figures also have Dawson ISD up by around 40 to 50 students from the end of last year, about a 10 percent increase in student population.

Most districts will have a better idea of enrollment by the end of the first week, administrators said.

“It went really smoothly,” said Stacy Henderson, Dawson superintendent. “A great first day.”

Kerens ISD had some new administrators in the mix, with three new principals, but things went well, said Superintendent Kevin Stanford.

“The kids were able to transition into classes well, and of course, there’s always an abundance of parent traffic on the first day of school, but that seemed to flow well,” Stanford said. “Things have started off extremely well.”

Kerens’ numbers may be down, but it won’t be clear until later in the week, Stanford said.

Mildred’s first day was smooth, also, said Superintendent Becky Burns.

“We’re all settled in and it looked like a regular school day by ten after eight,” she said. “The little kids and the teachers are ready to be back.”

Mildred’s enrollment is also looking up according to early figures, Burns said.

Frost ISD may also see some growth this year, with a preliminary count of 419 on the first day. The school district ended the last school year at 405 students. The first day of school last year Frost was at 378, said Superintendent Jim Revill.

“The numbers are up quite a bit from the first day of last year,” Revill said. “This is the largest (first day class) in 23 years.”

Rice ISD is also up about 20 new students, according to Amy Harvell, Rice Intermediate School principal.

“We’re growing, growing,” she said. “We had an excellent day. Lots of parents came this morning, and the kids and teachers were glad to be back. We just had a wonderful day.”

Blooming Grove ISD also had a good first day, said Jimmie Malone, superintendent.

"We got off to a great start today — we had everybody where they needed to be by 8:20."

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com