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Welcome back

Cindy Ramunno

Anxieties and excitement mounted this week. The first day of school for Eagle County School District students is today, and kids’ emotions are running from disappointment to excitement.

All kids – and teachers – experience first-day jitters, but it’s more prevalent when kids are walking into a new place for the first time, like a kindergartner’s first day or a student entering high school for the first time. Experts say calm starts and back-to-school rituals guarantee a smooth beginning to the year. They also say to pack a note or a favorite snack for elementary kids on the first day.

For new teachers, it can also be a little scary.

Yet for some, it’s not scary at all. Gypsum resident Katrina Cooper will be walking through the halls of Eagle Valley High School for the first time as a student today. One of only freshmen to try out for girls’ softball, she has already endured difficult softball practices with the team for the past two weeks.

“I’m not really nervous. I’ll be seeing a lot of friends from Eagle again and I love softball,” Cooper says calmly.

Her cousin Cody Gerard is a junior at Eagle Valley. Being the only left-handed player on the softball team, Cooper has already been teased and prepped for her stint at the school.

In the middle

And we all remember middle school. It’s a pleasant experience for some, but for most kids it’s chaotic at best. Bryce Zehring is a sixth-grader at Gypsum Creek Middle School this year. Coming from Gypsum Elementary, he says he’s excited to see his friends from Red Hill Elementary, also in Gypsum.

“I’m nervous about not knowing where to go and how to do my locker,” Zehring says.

But last spring, Zehring attended an orientation in which he says he learned a lot.

“I saw where we could eat, and there are some places to eat outside,” he says. “I also learned that if you’re tardy the first week because of your locker, you’re good.”

If you think being a middle schooler is tough, try being in charge of a classroom full of them. Tom Eddy is teaching eighth-grade language arts for the first time at Berry Creek Middle School in Edwards. He says he’s looking forward to getting students where they need to be as learners, but he’s a little nervous about preparation.

“My most vivid memory of middle school was diagramming sentences in the eighth grade and finding no point in it,” says Eddy. “I want to create relevance for every subject I teach.”

New at kindergarten

Being a 5-year-old and starting school for the very first time can be daunting, indeed. Kindergarten teachers work hard every year to make the transition easy for kids – and parents – to make that first experience a positive one. Walking into a good kindergarten classroom with an outstanding kindergarten teacher makes you feel warm and fuzzy all over.

At Brush Creek Elementary School, parents have the option of sending their child to two and a half days a week, three days per week or full-time. “Specials day” for kindergartners at BCES is Wednesdays. This is an entire day devoted to physical education, art, music, computers, the library and other special activities. Part-time kindergartner Jaycey Beard will attend an orientation today and actually begin school next Tuesday. She says she’s excited about seeing her friends and meeting her teacher, Karen Guzik. Beard’s priorities, however, are a little different than the older students.’

“At first, I’m going to have cold lunch and then I’ll decide what I want for hot lunch,” she says.

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