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Thu., Oct. 8
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First day of school celebrated across region


POTSDAM - Students from around St. Lawrence County returned to school on Thursday, celebrating what for many signifies the end of summer, the start of a new school year.

At Potsdam High School a small crowd of students was gathered in front of the building, with more students waiting inside, shortly after 7 a.m. in anticipation of the first day.

That’s one thing that high school Principal Joann Chambers said she likes about the beginning of a new year.

“I love the first day, because they all come in half an hour early,” she said, noting that’s not the case during any other day of the year.

In the past the first day of school would mark for many the first time they would see or talk to their friends and classmates since the end of the previous year, but in the age of social media that is no longer true for many students.

“It makes us more connected so we can still stay in touch and keep up with our friends,” according to Potsdam freshman Marissa McIntosh, who added that despite that she doesn’t feel like the first day of school has lost its luster.

“I’m looking forward to my studio art class with the new art teacher, Mrs. Barney,” she said.

While the first day may be special, not everyone understands what the fuss is all about.

“It’s just another day,” Potsdam freshman Mandi O’Brien said. “Except my mom gets up and takes pictures.”

Parishville-Hopkinton Superintendent Darin P. Saiff said the first day is always special for him.

“There’s a different kind of excitement and anticipation on the first day for both the staff and students,” he said, adding the year was off to a good start.

“It’s off to a great start. It’s always exciting to have kids back in the building,” he said. “They breathe life back into the building.”

Mr. Saiff said the district is fortunate to have the students it does, noting the life breathed back into the building is a breath of fresh air.

“We’re fortunate to have great students here and that’s a very strong reflection of the community,” he said.

At Colton-Pierrepont Central School, students were greeted by district staff and music as they stepped off of their bus.

While elementary students reported to their respective classrooms, high school students kicked off the new year with something a little different - a game of student handbook Jeopardy.

High school Principal Randy Johnson said the game was the creation of Administrative Intern Jim Nee, who until this year taught social studies in the district.

“We usually do a 45-minute assembly, where we reveiw the code of conduct and go over a lot of things, but Jim came up with this idea and I said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Mr. Johnson said. “It’s not just lecturing and reading. This makes it more interesting.”

That was a point also made by Mr. Nee as he was addressing students prior to the game.

“We’re not just simply going to read the rules to you and preach what you’re going to do,” he said.

Prior to the Jeopardy game, Mr. Johnson addressed his students, delivering a special message to the school’s seniors, “It’s your last first day,” he said. “You’ve got to end strong. You’ve got one more year to get through, and it’s a very important one.”

When asked if he thought the first day was special, Mr. Johnson replied, “Our first day is awesome.”

Explaining use of the word awesome, he said, “Awesome is our catch-phrase. We try to have a different theme every year and this year our theme is awesome.”

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