Harmar Elementary fifth-grader Jaron Seevers looks forward to attending Marietta Middle School in the fall, but he said Wednesday it will seem a bit like starting over.
"You just get to the top of elementary school, and you get knocked right back down to the bottom," he said.
Classmate Zach Casada echoed those concerns, but he and Seevers agreed there were some upsides as well, such as meeting people who attended other schools.
Last day of school at Phillips
"You get to have fun with some people that you never thought you could," he said.
Seevers, Casada and students throughout the Marietta City school district celebrated the end of the school year Wednesday with award ceremonies, food and games. Classes at Warren Local schools also came to a close Wednesday, making them the last two districts in the county to call it a year.
It was a busy day, said Tony Huffman, principal of Warren Elementary School.
EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
Phillips Elementary School fourth-graders run, jump and cheer as they're sprayed with water from a Marietta Fire Department pumper truck Wednesday afternoon in the school's traditional last-day celebration.
"We have all sorts of year-end obligations to shore up and have a lot of parents in the building to make sure their kids are having a good time with the class parties," he said.
The fifth-through-eighth-grade awards assembly and field day were held Wednesday, with kindergarteners through fourth-graders having participated in the same activities Tuesday. An eighth-grade promotion ceremony was on tap for Wednesday evening.
At Marietta's Phillips Elementary School, most students finished the school year the way many classmates before them had - wet. They took turns by grade level gathering in the school's back parking lot as off-duty Marietta firefighters sprayed them with a hose from a department pumper truck.
"It was exciting," said Sage Gibbs, a fifth-grader at the school. "It was really hot, and now I go get sprayed by a fire truck and I feel like I'm laying in snow."
It was fifth-grader Austin Amash's first time participating in the school's end-of-the-year tradition. He previously attended Putnam Elementary.
"I thought it was pretty satisfying," Amash said. "It was really good for a school (to do) 'cause it makes all the kids happy."
There was a note of sadness to the day for students like Mikayla Tucker, who is moving on to the middle school and won't be returning next year to the school she's attended since kindergarten.
"It's going to be really hard to let this school go," she said. "I'm going to miss all the teachers."
Also bidding Phillips farewell Wednesday was fifth-grade teacher Barry Warden, who is retiring after two decades at the school.
"I'm looking forward to what I have planned ... but I'm going to miss the staff here," he said. "I just feel very privileged working with the kids of the community."
Warden said he "couldn't have asked for a better class to end his career" and he got glowing reviews from some of his pupils as well.
"He's awesome," said fifth-grader Morgan Bauerbach.
The last day of school is often a time to recognize students' achievements. Harmar held its awards assembly Wednesday morning, an event that made the day even more exciting for third-grader Piper Halliday.
During the assembly, she received a gold medal award for the oil pastels piece she submitted to the Pentel International Children's Art Exhibition. Only four were awarded in the country.
"Lots of people entered, and I didn't think I'd get it," she said. "I was just very happy and I didn't know what to do."
Students were also recognized at Marietta Middle School, in addition to having lunch outside and other activities.
"It's a casual day," said Assistant Principal Todd Caltrider. "We've had a lot of fun today, each of the groups."
Putnam Elementary School honored its fifth-graders who were moving on to the middle school as they marched through the hallways at the end of the day Wednesday. The Putnam Pumpers jump rope team paid tribute to their founder, physical education teacher Barb Moberg, who is retiring.
Principal Jona Hall joined the school's kindergarteners in a show for the rest of the school entitled "Where in the World is Mrs. Hall?" playing off her love of international travel.
"They dance around to different countries and dress up in costumes," Hall said earlier in the day. "Then I'm up on stage, and I pop out in different costumes."
At Washington Elementary School, students competed in a variety of games, from Frisbee throwing to limbo to cup stacking.
"It's a fun day and a fun way to end the school year," Principal Scott Kratche said.
While many students were excited about the last day, they also said they would miss their friends and teachers over the summer. The feeling was mutual for Phillips fourth-grade teacher Kim Hiatt.
"I think it's very bittersweet," she said. "I enjoy my summer, but I had a wonderful group of kids this year."