MANCHESTER — The beginning of school in the Manchester Essex Regional School District brought many firsts for students and staff Thursday, from a first tooth loss to a first locker to first day on the job.
A class of sixth-grade students in the Manchester Essex Middle School hallway twisted and turned the black, numbered knobs of their newly assigned lockers.
Dean Campbell and Ben Soulard puzzled over Ben’s locker, which refused to open. The two glanced at the locker combination worksheet, then spun the knob and jiggled the handle to no avail.
“It was just a little stuck,” Soulard explained, after a teacher popped open the metal half door. Soulard, like the other students, taped up his hand-written schedule, labeled with math class, art, science, and more, on the inside of the metal door.
Meanwhile, Rebecca Shan, having already unloaded her new school supplies, had moved onto the decorating stage. Rebecca tilted her head as she leveled a pink-framed magnetic mirror on her swinging locker door.
“They’re handy, especially for picture day,” Rebecca said.
New interim Middle School Principal Cate Cullinane chatted with interim High School Principal Sharon Maguire around the corner from the lockers. The two agreed that the new year had come on smoothly, and they already felt comfortable in their new positions.
“People have been so welcoming here,” Cullinane said. The former Principal of Masconomet Regional Middle School added, “It was a quick adjustment, like riding a bike.”
Maguire, who had been the high school’s director of guidance for the past seven years, said her position shift has been an exciting one.
“It’s really an honor to be invited to take over as interim,” Maguire said. “The kids are so supportive. They are delightful.”
Later, as the school day came to a close at Essex Elementary School, students in Andrew Burnett’s second-grade class packed up their pink and blue and green backpacks, with emblems of Mario Brothers, dolls and flowers.
Noah Foss and Finn Lawler agreed class reading time had been the best part of the school day.
Plus, Noah said, he had enjoyed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at lunch.
“Oh! And, I have a very wiggly tooth,” Noah said. “I thought I was gonna lose it when I was having lunch, in my sandwich.”
Still intact at the end of the day, the loose pearly white will be Noah’s first tooth to fall.
The kids lined up and followed Burnett out to buses and the front lawn, awaiting rides home.
Peyton Falk, having just finished her first day of third grade, explained her planner notebook, a third-grade tool, to younger brother Charlie Falk.
“We have to bring home a thing called a planner,” Peyton told Charlie.
As the older sister, Peyton said she usually tries to give Charlie a heads up on the changes and challenges coming his way. Before school started Thursday, Peyton advised Charlie that his new classroom would contain desks, for the first time, rather than tables with small drawers for storage.
“I loved it,” Charlie said of his new desk. “It had more room to keep all my supplies!”
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at email@example.com.