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A day of firsts for kindergartners, parents

School year kicks off Monday

Brent Boyer

After months of practice Madelin McPeak arrived at Soda Creek Elementary School ready for her first day of kindergarten.

But the 5-year-old who routinely “plays” school at home — where she teaches her dolls — might have to get used to her new role as a student. Instruction will be left to Sharon Clementson, Madelin’s kindergarten teacher.

Brandy McPeak, Madelin’s mother, isn’t concerned.

“She’s ready,” McPeak said Monday, when more than 1,800 Steamboat Springs School District students began the 2004-05 school year.

Whether mom and dad are ready is another question.

The first day of kindergarten can be just as trying for parents as it is for their children. Brandy and David McPeak learned that firsthand Monday.

“It’s kind of sad now that she’s starting her first day,” Brandy McPeak said. “She’s growing up and starting the journey of school. It’s a great feeling, too. It’s very exciting.”

Seeing his daughter begin her public school career made David McPeak feel old.

“It was like y ou knew it was coming, but you didn’t think it would ever happen,” he said.

Teachers like Clementson do their best to make the first day of school comfortable for parents and students.

Instead of having all 21 of her students and their parents arrive at the same time Monday morning, Clementson arranged for the families to arrive in small groups throughout the day.

The veteran teacher introduced the children to their new classroom and the rules they’ll be expected to obey.

Clementson’s students also had to complete their first assignment — drawing pictures of themselves that eventually will be reproduced onto class T-shirts.

“It’s really fun, especially the way we meet the kids and parents,” Clementson said of the first day of school. “It’s not so overwhelming.”

The atmosphere was a little different at Steamboat Springs High School, where most students who reported to school Monday are accustomed to a busy school environment.

“They’re pretty locked-in this morning,” Assistant Principal Mike Knezevich said. “It has been pretty smooth. I was surprised by the level of alertness.”

The Hayden School District is the last Routt County public school system to begin classes this fall. School starts Sept. 7 for Hayden students.

— To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com


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