At 3:45 p.m. Tuesday the final bell of the 2010-2011 school year sounded at Phillips Elementary School and a long line of chattering, dripping wet children made their way along the sidewalks to board school buses or catch a ride home with parents.
School's out for summer in Marietta, with Belpre City Schools also adjourning for the summer Tuesday.
"I don't want to leave my friends for the summer but I'm trying out for cheerleading tomorrow, so I'm also very excited," said Phillips fourth-grader Mikayla Taylor.
Last day of school
She was accompanied by best friend and fellow fourth-grader Lindsey Bishop.
Both girls were wrapped in towels after joining nearly 400 other children for the school's annual "spray-down" summer sendoff by the Marietta Fire Department.
Firefighters spray the students with hoses from a fire truck behind the school.
"If we did this every day I'd almost be in heaven," Bishop said. "It just gets better every year."
Fellow student Allison Lisk agreed.
"It's fun just getting wet and getting cooled off," she said, adding that she plans to be wet quite a bit this summer at the Marietta Aquatic Center and in her aunt's swimming pool.
Other last days
Tuesday was the last day for students at Marietta and Belpre city schools, as well as St. Marys School in Marietta. The final day for students at other area schools include:
Friday-St. John Central Grade School and Wood County (W.Va.) Christian School.
May 31- Wolf Creek school district
June 2-Fort Frye school district (except Salem-Liberty Elementary) and Warren Local Schools.
June 6-Salem-Liberty Elementary School.
June 8-Frontier Local Schools (except Lawrence Elementary) and Wood County (W.Va.) Schools.
June 9-Lawrence Elementary School.
For Phillips students, Tuesday was filled with "field day" activities, including jumping and sliding in three huge inflatables provided by Deron Alkire's Time Well Wasted entertainment business.
In fact, Alkire said the idea for his business came during the school's 2006 field day, when another out-of-town company just left the inflatables on the school grounds without inflating them. Alkire said he and some other parents set up the inflatables that year.
"That's where I got the idea and by August we had our own business," he said.
Phillips fifth-grader Gavin Estes said this would be his last year at the elementary school as he heads to Marietta Middle School next year. But he couldn't resist helping Marietta firefighters on the fire hose one last time.
"I like to spray the other students," he said. "It's fun to hear them scream, especially Ms. George."
Third grade teacher Lisa George said she enjoys the spray as much as her students.
"It's a real blast," she said. "And all of the kids have been behaving very well all day, although some of the fifth-graders seem a little sad to leave. They're going to a new school where they'll switch teachers for every class, instead of having the same teacher all day.
"But this is a nice sendoff for everyone for the summer," George added.
Across town, music teacher Mike Tobar and art teacher Carol Garoza kept a close eye on Harmar Elementary students during a playground break.
"We celebrated the last day of school with an awards ceremony, recognizing kids' achievements during the year," Tobar said.
"We had two international winners of Pentel Corp. awards this year," Garoza added. "Pentel sponsors a regional art exhibit in Japan, and there were 124 U.S. entries honored. Harmar School received a silver and a bronze award in that competition."
Harmar second-grader James Goddard said he knew where he was going when school lets out for summer.
"We're going on vacation, camping in West Virginia all summer," he said.
Madison Shuman, another Harmar second-grade student, said she's looking forward to a summer riding jet skis and swimming in her backyard pool.
Fifth-graders Shauna Myers and Maxwell Schafer were among several children wearing orange T-shirts with "Class of 2018" written across the back. The shirts were provided courtesy of the school's Parent Teacher Organization.
"I'm going camping with my stepmom and dad, then I'll be playing some summer basketball," Myers said, adding that she probably won't miss Harmar Elementary when she goes to Marietta Middle School in the fall as she's only attended Harmar for two years now.
But Schafer said he will miss the school.
"I've been here for six years, so it's going to be a little hard to leave, but I am excited to become a middle-schooler next year," he said.
Students at Marietta Middle School spent the day in a variety of activities, including a special visit from COSI (Center of Science and Industry) on Wheels out of Columbus.
"It was cool-a lot of fun," said seventh-grader Madison Clark.
"The exhibits teach science, but in a fun way," she said.
Clark said this will be her last year in Marietta as her family is moving to Louisville, Ky., this summer.
"It's a much larger city and my new school is huge," she said, but added she'll miss Marietta, where she's always attended school.
Marietta High School juniors Alex Wesel and Tim Grosel were assisting COSI representative Perrin Shepherd with the hands-on exhibits.
Wesel and Grosel were among several National Honor Society students who volunteered to help at the middle school.
"I'll be going to some sports camps this summer and probably on a family vacation," Wesel said. "But this will be my next to last summer of freedom."
"We'll probably be working next summer," he said. "But I'm playing baseball for Beverly-Lowell for most of this summer. And we just put in a new pool last year, so I'll be trying to do a lot of swimming."