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Rain doesn't faze city pupils
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Brian Joyce, band director at Martinsville Middle School, chats with eighth-grade student James Sigmon as he passes through the hall during a bell change.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dreary weather could not put a damper on the spirit of Martinsville students as they arrived for the first day of school on Monday, according to a news release from Martinsville City Public Schools.

Students returned with a mixture of nervousness and excitement, anxious to begin this year’s journey.

Olivia Fisher, a first-grade student at Patrick Henry Elementary, shared she was nervous at first, but that “it wasn’t so bad after all” once she discovered that some of her friends are in her class.

Shatavia Dillard, also in first grade at Patrick Henry, said she was “happy to be back in school” to see her friends.

Tamia Younger, an eighth-grade student at Martinsville Middle, said she was glad to see her teachers and “learn more.”

While one might expect 3- and 4-year-old students at Clearview Early Childhood Center to be leery of entering school for the first time, Director Sheilah Williams stated otherwise.

“We are off to a great start this morning. No tears, only smiling faces,” she said.

Williams believes that parent orientation, along with open houses, helped to ease the anxiety of both students and parents by allowing them to familiarize themselves with their teachers and the building ahead of time.

“Most of the parents, about 90 percent, put their students on the bus this morning,” Williams said. “Because they had already said their good-byes, the students came in with excitement, momentum and ready to learn.”

Principals at both elementary schools echoed the same sentiments on student excitement.

“The children are looking forward to the year,” said Judy Cox, newly named principal at Albert Harris. “They are positive and happy to be here, which speaks volumes for the teachers and staff.”

Cox also shared that she is “looking forward to a great year full of student achievement” and is “really excited to be here.”

Students are “glad to come back,” noted Zeb Talley, principal at Patrick Henry. “This is the smoothest opening I’ve encountered in over 30 years in education. Teachers have been very proactive, planning in advance. This has been a great transition into the new year.”

Principals at each school took special care to maintain a presence in hallways and classrooms, as the first day of school is a crucial day to begin building relationships with students, the release said.

Cynthia Tarpley, principal at Martinsville Middle, said that the opening had been “very smooth” and that lots of “get-to- know-you” activities were taking place throughout the day. “I’ve been in the classrooms, trying to get to know students,” she said. She said she “enjoyed seeing the teachers and kids so excited.”

At Martinsville High, Principal Angie Weinerth said: “Teachers have prepared engaging, targeted instruction. In every class, teachers are beginning the process of building relationships.”

Both MHS and MMS reported a number of new students enrolling on the first day, which kept guidance counselors busy with developing schedules.

“I was really pleased to visit every school and feel the positive atmosphere in every one of them,” Superintendent Pam Heath said. “The students were smiling and eager to get started. Our teachers and support staff had everything beautifully prepared for a great school opening.”


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