VERONA — Optimism and enthusiasm set the mood Thursday as the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill school district faculty and staff welcomed students back for opening day of the 2019-20 school year, the district announced.
Children were greeted at doors with high-fives, music, signs, and hugs, and “walked into classrooms decorated with enthusiasm for the great year ahead,” the VVS district said.
The classrooms included teacher Kimberly Bronk’s first-grade class at W.A. Wettel Elementary School in Vernon, decorated with a llama theme for having a “llamazing” year, according to the announcement.
The VVS district overall includes about 1,877 students in pre-K to grade 12. Among other opening-day results as noted by the district:
• All elementary students were greeted by new outdoor recreation and learning spaces featuring walking trails, sun shades, accessible equipment, and new play areas.
• Middle and high school students saw a new layout, as construction is fully underway for a new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) wing and media center. Over the course of the year, students will be able to see real-time progress of both of the new learning spaces.
• Amid the construction and changes, “most students were simply looking forward to reconnecting with their classmates and learning their new schedules,” said the district. Middle school student Olivia Savachka said her favorite part of the day was “seeing my friends and meeting all of my new teachers.”
• The VVS district’s Special Patrol Officers (SPOs) were in buildings Thursday, welcoming back the students and staff. All four officers started with VVS in the spring of 2019, and will continue at the same posts for 2019-20.
“I am excited to be back again; it’s a great overall environment to work in,” said officer Donald Avery. “The SPOs are here for everybody, and we work together with faculty, staff, and students to make it work properly. I enjoy helping other people; if they need somebody, I am here for them.”
• Middle and high school physical education teacher Kaitlyn Fortier was also happy to be back with her students. “This year will be the first year where I have known every student since seventh grade,” she commented. “I am excited and sad to see the seniors, who I first had as 12-year-olds, work and grow and graduate, but can’t wait to see them go out into the world and become successful in whatever path they choose.”
The VVS district said community members are invited to learn more about district events and activities at Facebook pages including @VVSDistrict, @VernonVeronaSherrillHS, @VVSMiddle, @WettelElemVVS, @JDGElementary, and @McAllisterElem.