When students enter new buildings on the first day of school, each one has a different experience. From elementary to middle to high school, students who are in their first year at a new school discuss what they hope to learn as they begin their next academic adventures.
It’s the first year of public school for Calvin DeSalvo, 6. Excited to be reunited with friends from summer school, DeSalvo said he hopes school will teach him how to make money so he can buy himself an ATV.
“We have a field behind our house,” DeSalvo said. “We saw someone drive a Gator back there, but we didn’t know who they were.”
On his very first day of kindergarten at Ridgeview Elementary School in Liberty, DeSalvo met his teacher Beth Rieger and had art class, where he said he drew a purple crayon from a book that was read to him and his classmates. Even though the book they read wasn’t his favorite — his favorite being “The Polar Express” — he said art class was his favorite part of the day.
DeSalvo also had fun at recess, he said, where he pretended to be a police officer with his friends, something he hopes to become when he grows up.
After a full day, DeSalvo said his dog David probably missed him, but it is OK because David was coming to pick him up after school with his mom. DeSalvo is a car rider, but for his very first day he said his mom, Caitlin DeSalvo, a teacher at Discovery Middle School, met him at Family Tree Nursery near the school and they walked there together.
Feeling excited and nervous as she entered Smithville Middle School, Emma Cotter, 12, started her first day of seventh grade Thursday, Aug. 15.
“I’m probably most excited about getting back with my friends from the other schools,” Cotter said.
Previously attending Horizon Elementary School, Cotter said what she will miss most from elementary school is having one set classroom rather than moving from one class to the next. Getting to each room was the source of her nervousness, she said.
On the other hand, Cotter added, she is looking forward to more independence being able to walk the hallways alone. It’s a new experience, she said, with new obstacles.
Being at the middle school also offers Cotter the opportunity to pick some of her classes, including family and consumer science, Spanish and band.
“I’m taking the regular ones, but then FACS, Spanish and band,” she said.
Cotter plays the French horn and band is her favorite class. In addition to that, she is looking forward to family and consumer science because she wants to learn to cook and sew.
For sophomore Ethan Taff of Kearney, the start of the 2019-20 school year on Aug. 15 saw him attending classes in a new school as grades 10 through 12 are part of Kearney High School.
Taff said he was looking forward to seeing friends more regularly.
“Some I’ve seen and some I have not,” he said of his summer break.
As he has attended school in the district for the past several years, Taff said he wasn’t nervous about not knowing anyone or navigating the halls of a new school, but he was nervous about the school’s parking lot.
“I’ve been driving since May,” he said happily the day before school began, adding he was apprehensive about parking in a crowded lot with other new drivers. “I’m tempted to park at my grandma’s because she lives about a minute from where I’m supposed to park. It’s just everyone else that just started driving.”
As for classes, Taff expressed confidence and a sense of preparedness heading into the final school building of his K-12 education, saying he isn’t nervous or worried about not doing well. American history and geometry are subjects he enjoys.
“I don’t know what it is, I’ve just always been good with social studies and math,” he said of his favorite subjects.
As for extracurriculars and job skills he wants to learn, Taff said he was excited to continue gaining experience in broadcast journalism, something he also did in previous grades.
As he is confident heading into high school, Taff offered advice for others who may not be.
“Don’t be nervous, it’s not going to be as bad as you think it is,” he said.