Enthusiastic Opening for
The new school year kicked-off on Wednesday with only a few wrinkles as hundreds of teachers and nearly 4,400 Huntington School District students seamlessly transitioned from vacation mode to a resumption of classroom education.
There were a handful of transportation snafus that officials worked feverishly to solve throughout the day. New Superintendent James W. Polansky and his team of central office administrators fanned out across the district to greet students and parents as they arrived at the seven school buildings.
At Huntington High School, Principal Carmela Leonardi said the day started off great. "It was a very smooth opening," she said. "Teachers and students were upbeat and looking forward to the new school year. Instructional staff members and administrators were in the hallways greeting the students and exchanging information about summer activities. Our new superintendent was a welcome sight in the hallways and on school grounds. His show of support was noted and welcomed by all."
Students at all grade levels were eager to greet their former teachers and renew acquaintances with each another after enjoying a two-month break. Buildings and grounds department staff members made sure each school was sparkling. Desks and tables were scrubbed clean over the summer and looked almost like new. Freshly polished floors shined in hallways and gyms.
"The first day of school went smoothly," Flower Hill School Principal Marlon Small said. "Our students were excited to be back at school. This was evident from the smiles on their faces as they came off the buses in the morning. I want to thank our faculty and staff for the tremendous work they did to ensure our students had a most positive experience on the first day of school."
A LIPA power outage affecting about 1,400 customers in the area knocked out electricity to Flower Hill and J. Taylor Finley Middle School around 1:30 p.m. Principals of those school instructed teachers to keep students in their rooms during the episode.
Cafeterias bustled with activity, serving thousands of breakfast and lunch meals. Rain forced recess to be held indoors, but students didn't seem to mind. Elementary school youngsters spent time organizing their desks, listening to their teacher's expectations and learning new routines.
"It was really amazing how everyone just picked up where they left off," Washington School Principal Marsha Neville said. "You could see and feel the enthusiasm. Students seemed glad to be back and easily adapted to new classmates and teachers. It was a great day!"
Parents turned out in large numbers at all four primary buildings as well as at Woodhull Intermediate School. Some kindergarteners and their parents shed tears. Many snapped photos as their child stepped off the school bus for the first time.
Teachers explained course requirements, assigned seats, tried to quickly memorize dozens of new names and gave directions to those who found themselves hopelessly lost in unfamiliar buildings.
"It was wonderful to see so much enthusiasm," Mr. Polansky said. "Classrooms were well-organized and teachers and students quickly got down to business. Everything is in place for what we expect will be a fantastic year."