UNITY — For some Sept. 1 came too quickly while others were eagerly anticipating the back-to-school experience. Bus zones were busy, backpacks were bursting with school supplies, and the air was full of excited chatter as kids caught up with friends and teachers as they headed into first day of classes.
Area schools are welcoming new staff, new programming and some upgrades in their buildings that were completed over the summer.
The Bartley family was ready and raring to go Sept. 1 morning. Brooke was anticipating her first day of high school, starting Grade 7. Riley smiled when he was asked about how he felt about being the senior class in UPS entering Grade 6. Teagan was brimming with enthusiasm, excitedly revealing her thoughts about her first day of Grade 1 with Ms. Z.
Near Unity Composite High School, a unique family situation showed the benefit of UCHS teachers, Mr. and Mrs. Clark, being able to walk their boys, Maddox and Finley, across the street to Unity Public School for their first day of class. Maddox will be entering Grade 4 while Finley appeared excited about his first day of Grade 1.
The pandemic is still in our midst and it is anyone’s guess whether another COVID-19 wave will impact school activities. As well, there will be continued varying comfort levels on masks as school division prescribed mask mandates were lifted the latter part of last school year. However, no apprehensions were evident as students and staff entered their schools.
At Unity Public School, Principal Karalyn Brown said they are welcoming two new staff. Cally Kowalchuk is joining UPS as one of the Grade 1 teachers, coming from Wilkie. Annette Ball will be joining the staff as a new educational assistant.
“We have some sidewalks re-covered over the summer and are planning and preparing for a new playground which will be installed mid-September if all goes well,” says Brown
The original format welcome back pancake breakfast that includes students and their families, sponsored and prepared by school community council and UPS staff takes place on Sept. 9 starting at 8 a.m.
At Unity Composite High School students were looking forward to returning to high school sport and extra-curricular activity. Junior golf started with optional practice Sept. 1 with regular practices already scheduled for the following week. Cross-country running also enlisted sign ups with practices beginning after the long weekend. Junior girls’ volleyball met to discuss the upcoming season with the senior girls invited to tryout Sept. 1 evening and senior boys’ volleyball would already be holding practice Sept. 1 evening, with junior boys asked to sign up.
Other than a temporary location of classes for work still being done in the science room, it was business as usual for high school students.
St. Peter’s will be under the leadership of Deanna Emond, taking over for retired Kelvin Colliar. Kindergarten students will begin classes Sept. 7.
At Kerrobert Composite School three new staff will join the school with interns Taylene Jalbert and Leah Mennie as well as school counsellor Sandra Fiddler, who is filling in for a maternity leave.
Principal Candice Kraft says over the summer there was new painting done in the hallways, the football field now has lights installed and ready to use as well as there is new playground lighting in place.
A new event was offered at several of our readership area schools called “Unpack your Backpack” where an open house is held where students can come with family/parents and bring all of their school supplies to unpack in efforts to take the load off students on their first day. The opportunity lessens both the physical load and chaos that ensues upon arrivals, with excited students and removes the first day unpacking material and settling in.
Macklin School held their ‘Unpack your Backpack’ open house on Aug. 30 evening. According to their Facebook promotion of the event, it offered students the opportunities to reduce first day anxieties, meet their teachers, check out their homerooms, unpack their backpacks and find their lockers and cubbies.
McLurg High School was offering a free hotdog lunch for students and staff on the first day of class, Sept. 1.
Luseland School also held an “Unpack your Backpack” open house the evenings of Aug. 30 and 31.