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School’s back in session

Photo by Michael Kelly Eighth graders at Marietta Middle School applaud as teachers are introduced at a morning assembly in the school gym on the first day of classes. Marietta, Warren and Wolf Creek schools all reconvened Wednesday.

Lisa George, wearing a big sign reading “This will be your best year,” opened her arms wide as she walked toward Cory Morris and embraced him .

Morris was one of about 600 students arriving at Marietta Middle School early Wednesday morning for the first day of class.

George is a sixth-grade math teacher, and Morris is starting eighth grade.

“I try to maintain these relationships as they go through the grades,” George said, watching Morris disappear into the building. Another teacher standing by the door by a stairwell clogged with students shouted, “Guys, you’ve got to make a choice, going up or going down.”

George said she’s ready for her new students.

Photo by Michael Kelly Brook Hanson takes a photo of her son, Colton Hanson, with his grandmother, Bonnie McGowan, outside Phillips Elementary School as they wait for the building to open on the first day of classes, Wednesday.

“Things look fine, we’re always looking for new ways to get the point across,” she said. “For grade six, it’s percentages, fractions, decimals, geometry.”

Holly Menzel walked toward her car after giving her daughter, Grace, a sixth grader, a hug.

“It’s her first day of middle school, and I’m excited for her. I think she’s ready for it,” she said. “It’s a big change from Putnam (elementary school), but it’s part of life’s transitions.”

Inside, principal Brittany Schob stalked the gymnasium floor, shouting encouragement to the students sitting in the banks of bleachers and grouped by grade. Like a game show host unveiling prizes behind doors, she introduced staff members one at a time as the students cheered each name.

“You need to know which faces belong in this building,” she said.

Photo by Michael Kelly Teacher Lisa George embraces returning student Cory Morris as children stream into Marietta Middle School Wednesday morning on the first day of classes. The staff stood outside the school entrance bearing signs with positive messages to get the year started.

Schob said later the school has added a 30-minute advisory period at the end of every Monday to give students some guidance on scheduling.

“There will be some character education, too. We want to emphasize positive reinforcement, recognizing the good things they do, positive praise notes,” she said.

An hour later at Phillips Elementary School, crowds of students and parents waited outside the columned entrance. On the green slope at the west end of the old building, Brook Hanson took photos with her phone of her second-grade son, Colton, with his grandmother, Bonnie McGowan.

“It’s been a good summer, he was in the Boys and Girls Club, lots of field trips,” Hanson said.

“They’ve got good teachers here, and he’s ready to see his friends,” McGowan said.

“I offered to walk him in, and he said, ‘Nah, I got this,'” Hanson said, watching Colton and his backpack melt into the waiting crowd.

At Warren Elementary School, Keith and Liz Gainer walked their daughter Claire toward the building for her first day of kindergarten.

“She’s pretty excited,” Keith said, carrying another youngster. “She got her shopping done, Claire’s trying to hold her excitement in, Liz is trying to keep from crying.”

Inside the main hallway, the last of the students to arrive were making their ways to classes.

“It’s been amazing so far, a lot of energy and excitement,” said principal Joe Oliverio. The big brick school has enrolled about 370 students, he said. The teaching staff is the same as last year, he said, although some of them have different assignments.

“We’re fortunate here, when we get good teachers they stay with us,” he said.

Third-grader Aiden Lipscomb, whose teacher is Jan Eichinger, said his summer activities included going to the beach, swimming at the pool and going to baseball games. He’s ready to be back.

“I saw some of my friends,” he said. “But third grade … I think it’s going to be hard.”

Easton Morgan, who is starting fourth grade in Stephanie Johnson’s class, said he’s looking forward to studying under his new teacher.

“I’m seeing my friends, having fun,” he said, adding that math is his favorite subject.

Carson Erb, courageously wearing a Michigan University T-shirt, said he’s got Kalee Gates as his fourth-grade teacher.

“I’m seeing my friends from last year, I like playing with them,” he said. “The thing I don’t like? Getting up early in the morning.”

As for Oliviero, it’s his 54th first day of school.

“Going back as far as kindergarten,” he said. “I’ve been in school all my life.”

Michael Kelly can be contacted at mkelly@mariettatimes.com.

First days in Washington County schools:

• Belpre City Schools: Aug. 14.

• Frontier Local Schools: Tuesday.

• Marietta City, Warren and Wolf Creek local schools, Washington County Career Center: Wednesday.

• Fort Frye Local Schools: Today.

Source: Times research.

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