By Mary Fox

The kids are back to school and they, as well as parents and teachers, are excited about it. In chatting with teachers and students, it became obvious that friends are an important part of school life.

Jalee Evans, who is going into fourth grade, said she is pretty excited, “because my summer was pretty boring. I’m excited to see my friends.”

Students from  pre-K, elementary, middle school and high school went to their new classrooms on Wednesday to begin another year of  school – 640 kids ages 5-17.

Expectations are high for kindergarteners who want to learn to read, even though “there will be a lot of homework,” said 5-year-old Katie Bless who will be in Mrs. Simpson’s class.

“Best of all,” she said, “besides learning to read, we will eat in the cafeteria.”

New York State Education requirements are changing and it’s an ongoing challenge to teachers in grades K-8 to help their students meet them. The new state requirements are changing the way teaching is approached.  Language arts, math, science and  social studies are intertwined and taught as a whole instead of each subject being studied separately.

Elizabeth Wellman said she is “excited to get back into a schedule again and see my friends.”

Wellman is a junior this year and, like all juniors, faces making decisions for her future. This year, juniors they will begin looking at possible colleges that offer their academic choices.

Those who play sports can find themselves in a juggling act, balancing sports with academics.

Seniors will be working closely with the guidance department to apply to colleges of their choice and to find and apply for scholarships that will fit their goals.

Contrary to common opinion, there are hundreds of scholarships available in all subjects and degrees of academic achievement, if one takes the time to dig deep enough and use all the available resources to find them.

The new school year brings students a clean slate, a new chance to meet their goals and excel at what they do best, a new opportunity to take advantage of what the school has to offer and what the teachers have to give.

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