By Foot, Skateboard or Bus, Students Arrive for the First Day of School

This morning they came in droves on foot, bikes, and skateboards; by car, truck and bus, on Opening Day for the 2012-13 school year!

To lend some perspective on the scope of this mobilization here are some of the numbers in play: over 30,000 students at 67 schools staffed by a workforce of 4,700 assisted by 17,000 computers and a fleet of 130 buses that will log more than 1.5 million miles over the course of the year. 25,000 breakfasts and lunches will be served daily.  

At Willard Elementary they picked up right where the nearby state fair left off just a few days ago. There was a carnival atmosphere in the air as Principal Julie Kruse and her staff welcomed close to 500 students back to a beautiful old building that speaks to the district’s century+ tradition of excellence. When the first bell rang the office and main corridor were as jammed with grinning kids as the midway was last week. By second bell everyone was in position; Swiss watches should run so well.

In a corridor at Callanan this morning two partners huddled around the locker they’ll share. Each of them failed to open it once or twice before each of them succeeded. The first right combination, the first unlocking, the first shared grin; the whole point in just the nutshell of that moment.

Already, footballs are flying. Bands are marching. Harriers are off and running. Musicals are in production. Golfers are taking their shots. New friends are meeting. Swimmers are making their splashes. Names are being remembered. Apprehensions are evaporating. Possibilities are emerging.

By the time you read this new shoes and jeans and backpacks won’t be new anymore and the first-day jitters will be long gone. What a difference a (first) day makes! But if you got a look at a fresh-scrubbed kid heading off to pre-school or kindergarten or middle school or high school for the first time today, or if you sent a senior off for the first day of class for the last time, then you know something that never gets old.

There are pictures beaming back to Earth from Mars right now, and they are mind-bending in many ways. But compared to getting the largest school district in the state off the launch pad without a hitch for 106 years and counting, how hard can it really be to aim one big rocket at one big planet?

But first things first; rocket science starts tomorrow.

Photos of the first day of school

DMPS-TV report on the first day of school

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