The first day of school can be the hardest or the most exciting day for parents and students alike. There’s the rush to fix breakfast, to put on the uniform and lace up the brand new pair of school shoes; the last minute check to make sure the hair is perfect and the backpack is in the car.
The nerves are there too along with questions: will I like my teacher, will I make new friends, will I be able to find my classes, and should I drive left or right in the carpool lane? The 1,100 plus students and families at Parish Episcopal School may have experienced a similar scenario as the doors of the Hillcrest and Midway campuses opened on Thursday, August 27.
“The first days of school can bring a plethora of emotions- excitement, anxiety, joy and fear of the unknown. It’s important to begin the year with a positive, yet realistic, attitude. Also, remind your child that we have resources to help them feel supported and confident about the new school year,” said Elaine Charles, Lower and Middle School Counselor.
At the Midway campus, 3rd graders through seniors stepped in time to the Panther drumline as they arrived on campus. The high-energy greeting from the faculty and staff seemed to melt some jitters, but it was a bittersweet “first day” for senior Aahad Patel.
“We’ve always looked up to the seniors, so it’s great that my senior year is finally here. But it’s a little sad too because it’s my last year at Parish,” said Patel.
Middle schoolers Alise and Paige felt a little worried about moving up to middle school on the second floor of Midway.
“Finding my classes was a little scary, but I’ve got it figured out now,” said Alise.
“I’m going to have to be really organized this year,” predicted Paige.
The middle school students will be getting even more into the “do” mode this year, moving around the classroom and working on projects.
“The teachers are really prepared and excited to try new innovative practices to engage the students,” said Jay Riven, Head of the Middle School Division.
“It’s going to be a great year,” he added.
At the Hillcrest campus, PreK through 2nd grade students and parents were greeted by players from the Panther football team and with high fives from Jennifer Wilson, the new Head of Lower School Division. Wilson comes to Parish from Richardson ISD and has 18 years of experience in education. She’ll be going back and forth between the campuses as she checks on students in PreK through 4th grade.
“We had a really smooth start. There were a few tears, but overall the children reported they had a great and amazing first day of school,” said Wilson.
Along with new students, faculty and staff, Parish also launched its first year of Primer, a program that serves as a bridge between kindergarten and 1st grade.
Parish also unveiled a new mission statement that reflects its core values of Wisdom, Honor and Service, as well as the innovative, inclusive environment that the School is known for among the community. All students, faculty and staff were presented with an OUR MISSION, light blue t-shirt that they will wear during special school events, such as the School’s Legacy Family events.
Those values have served Dave Monaco, Allen Meyer Family Head of School, well during his six years at Parish. He loves to greet the students during carpool every day and looks forward to the start of each new year.
“After a long, quiet summer on campus, the first day of school provides me a welcomed jolt of energy! Almost immediately, our classrooms and hallways fill with the energy and warmth for which our community is so well known,” said Monaco.
The students ended the first full day of school with new friends and challenges, and a few thoughts about day one.
“Great first day,” reported parent Sally Wyatt.
“Our 7th grader, Pierce, was all smiles and excited about his new classes.”
It was a successful first day. Just another nine months to go.