Students in Blooming Grove flocked into school to start the new year amid a flurry of smiles, hugs and greetings from friends and classmates Monday morning.

More than 800 students passed through the doors of the high school, the junior high school and the elementary school in a rush to find classes and get registered.

Halls were packed at the main entrance to Blooming Grove High School as school staff busily helped students find their class schedules.

School buses from across the county were still rolling in at 7:45 a.m. and the familiar 20 mph school zone was put back into force along the town’s streets.

Superintendent Mike Baldree even performed his share of duties at the front desk to get students organized for the day.

“It’s about getting off to the right start, getting the kids to class on time, setting the rules and expectations, letting them know what’s going on and starting the year with a positive spin,” Baldree said.

“First day it’s all about monitoring and adjusting. You see what’s working, you see what isn’t. By the end of the week you have got a smooth running operation. But right now, it’s chaos at its finest.”

Kids at the high school greeted the first day back with varying degrees of emotion.

Shannon McCommons, 16, a junior this year said her first thought Monday morning was “Do I have to get out of bed?” She said she looked forward to breezing through her junior year and becoming a senior.

“I have had nothing to do all summer but sit at the house and watch TV so I am really excited to be back and to see my friends,” said Lindsey Shuart, 16, also a junior. “My goal is to have good friends, stay focused and not get distracted.”

Teachers also greeted the first day back with positives. Michelle DuBay, who teaches physics, chemistry and astronomy, was helping support other staff in the hallway to ensure students knew where they were going.

“I can’t wait to see who they bring me. It’s so exciting seeing all the different people coming in,” she said.

“The first day sets the tone for the whole year. If it’s more about what we are actually doing and not just setting the rules then it is a little bit more exciting.”


Oliver Sheehan may be reached by email at Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email:

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