Stephenville ISD has coined a new motto in answer to the many hindrances to be faced as new construction on Central and Chamberlin elementary schools begins. Changes in student and parent traffic flow, be it on foot or by vehicle, has already presented several obstacles to the staff of Central Elementary. But now the mantra, “It's just a year,” is invoked as those challenges arise.
The little ones embarking on their academic careers Monday morning appeared oblivious to any hitches in a normal routine. Play-doh and playground time were paramount on most of their minds. A few road - or sidewalk - blocks did not hinder their excitement as they were led in a carefully plotted tour to become accustomed to their school.
Kindergarten student Caleb Umber-Robinson was anxious to get to his physical education class, but he took a few minutes to visit with the E-T.
Caleb had been an early riser that morning. When asked about his morning so far, he gave a report on his breakfast.
“I drank chocolate milk and cereal,” he said. “But sometimes I eat Pop Tarts. But I had to get up at six in the morning because I had to go to school at seven o'clock this morning.
“I've played with Play-doh and I listened to the big screen TV (Smart Board), and I sat on the rainbow carpet. Then we went to the lunch room, but we didn't eat.”
His concern about going to the gym didn't waver as he continued to answer questions. What was he looking forward to most this year?
“Going to the computer lab,” he said.
Then he turned to Principal Kelly Magin and asked her what was foremost on his mind.
“When does the gym open?” he asked.
When told he would go after lunch, he countered with, “But I'm not hungry.”
Magin, who is entering her second year as Central's principal, was relieved at how smoothly the morning had gone.
“I was a little nervous about our new route and traffic flow,” she admitted. “But thankfully the police were here to help clear out the traffic.
“We have so many moms and dads who want to walk their children in and take their picture and do all of those things you do on first days,” she said. “We'll probably have a better gauge on how things are really going to flow Wednesday and Thursday.”
But parents were compliant with the prescribed traffic rules.
“Today it went very smoothly. We had all of our aides on duty. We had a lot of help,” she explained.
Members of the district administration pitched in to lend a hand. Assistant Superintendent Deborah Hummel got in on the drop off action as did Director of Curriculum Michelle Mcnutt and Director of Child Nutrition Mona Little.
Magin was further heartened to the success of opening day by the attitude of her new charges.
“We didn't have too many kiddos upset,” she said. “There are always a few, but not many today.”
Last minute enrollments Monday proved Central's student population is going to be a large one. Magin predicted there would be nearly 20 more students to officially join the campus before the day was over.
“Our numbers are considerably up from last year's,” she said.
And of the inconvenience she and her staff will have to share with their school children, she was to recite that new sentiment everyone affected by new developments has adopted.
“It's just a year,” she said with a smile.