Students in Ms. Verret's Kindergarten class at College Oaks Elementary take a nap on their first day of school on Monday. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)
Students at S.J. Welsh Middle School look for their rooms during class change on their first day of school on Monday morning. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 7:45 PMStudents weren’t the only ones with first-day jitters Monday. W.W. Lewis Middle School Principal Robert Barentine, said he was “a little nervous and stressed,” too.
Barentine, who was assistant principal at W.W. Lewis for six years and at Sulphur High for two, returned to the middle school for his first year as principal after Tony Dougherty’s retirement.
“This being my first year and coming back to Lewis was exciting — to come back and work in a different capacity with the same people,” he said. “Hopefully I do a good job in this position. I was really nervous though. I’m not going to lie.”
Barentine said the first day “ran smooth.”
“We were expecting 970-980 students, and we ended up with about 950,” he said. “I was worried about if we would have enough desks and stuff like that, but everything went fine.”
Barentine said his goal for the school year is to “keep moving in the right direction.”
“Last year the school performance scores were awesome, and they did a great job,” he said. “I want to keep moving in the right direction and progress — keep those scores rising.”
This is Brent Washington’s ninth year as principal of Brentwood Elementary, but he has spent 26 years in the school system. What he likes most about the first day of school are the hugs from students.
“They act like they haven’t seen me in 10 years. I enjoy their smiles and happiness,” Washington said. “The students are really ready to be back at school. I love seeing those faces I haven’t seen since May.”
After four days of in-service and training, Washington said, the faculty was excited and ready as well.
“When students get here you can really put your plans into action,” he said. “The execution of all the preparation is always great to see.”
Keith Bonin, Sulphur High principal, said this year marks his eighth year as principal of the school and that it was a “typical first day.”
“It was a little crazy with getting all the students registered and in class,” Bonin said. “But we got all the students in with just a few bumps and bruises with getting them registered and helping them find where they needed to go. Overall it was a good first day.”
Bonin said that for him, the first day of school is “just like any other day” because Sulphur High has summer school.
“I’m here all summer for summer school, so it’s really just like another day,” he said. “We just go from having summer school with 200-300 students to having about 1,400 students. That’s the only thing that’s really different.”
Bonin said his goal for the year is to help teachers learn about Student Learning Targets and COMPASS — performance evaluations for teachers and students.
“We want to help teachers learn and understand everything about the new evaluation system that has come down from the state,” he said. “We are learning that and trying to work through it so that we can do the best we can.”
Megan Fuselier, a kindergarten teacher at Brentwood, said her favorite part of the first day is seeing all the shiny faces of all the students being excited for school.
“A few of them were hesitant to leave Mom for the first time, but overall they were excited and willing and ready to come to school,” Fuselier said. “My personal goal is to make sure all my students learn their letters, sounds, and have fun and learn to work together as a team.”
William Tutson, a fifth-grader at Brentwood, said he likes to meet new people and get new teachers.
“There are a lot of good books that we get to read,” he said. Tutson said he looks forward to learning more about the Civil War and history, his favorite subject.
Heaven Renee Raven, a fifth-grader at Brentwood, said her goal this year is to participate in Quiz Bowl tournaments. Raven’s favorite subject is math because there are a lot of fun games to play out of it.
“My teacher is really nice, too,” Raven said. “But I did want summer to last longer.”
Raven said she spent the day writing and organizing supplies she brought to school for the year.
Melaina Montie, a junior at Sulphur High, said she “doesn’t like being out of school.”
“I love school, so I was excited to come back,” she said. “I’m excited because I got really good teachers this year. I participate in a lot of clubs, too, so I was excited and ready to come back to that.”
Montie, who plays softball for Sulphur, said she is also really excited for softball season to begin.
Montie, who said her favorite subject is math, hopes to go to school to become an chemical engineer after high school.