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Rain, administrators greet students on first day of school

September 14, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer (gkelly@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Lake Placid Elementary School Principal Sonja Franklin stood in a torrential downpour Thursday morning, Sept. 6, with her black labradoodle, Ries.

Songs such as Pharell's "Happy" and Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" played over the loud speakers. Franklin mouthed the words to the 1980s pop hit. She held a clear, dome-shaped umbrella to stay dry.

"It also lets me see the kids' faces," she said of the see-through umbrella.

Article Photos

Lake Placid Elementary School Principal Sonja Franklin and her dog, Ries, greet students on the first day of school Thursday, Sept. 6.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

Sept. 6 marked the first day of classes in the Tri-Lakes area's school districts.

"It's new excitement," Franklin said. "It's a chance to start again and have a fresh start. The rain kind of goes along with it. It washes everything away."

For the past few years at LPES, Franklin has introduced a theme every September. This year's theme is "Be the Nice Kid."

"It sets a tone for the whole year," she said. "I saw a poster with a quote from Bryan Skavnak [golfer, writer], and it talks about how some kids are good athletes, some kids are good students, but you know what, everybody has their own strength and everybody has the ability to be the nice kid. We've got pencils that have that on there. We've got lanyards with it. We've got a big sign in the hallway with his quote on it."

Also greeting the children on their first of school was Roger Catania, superintendent of the Lake Placid Central School District. It was about 8:15 a.m., and he had just arrived from welcoming students to the Lake Placid Middle-High School. Catania said the first day of classes at both schools is similar.

"There's a lot of enthusiasm," he said. "There's a lot of excitement and some anxiety, too. There are a lot of families, and that's just such a wonderful part of it. Families come and they want to be the ones to sort of hand off the child to school, whether it's at the elementary school or often in the sixth grade. We see that because it's a brand-new start for kids in a new school."

Being the nice kid also holds true at the middle-high school. For the past 15 years or so, seniors have completed end-of-the-year projects which revolve around making a positive contribution to society, such as charitable donations and advancements in science. These are goals Catania said Lake Placid strives for as a school district and as a community.

"We really try to build positive relationships and recognize that we all need to see the good aspects of our lives," he said. "We sift through some of the challenges and really focus on the strengths and reach out to others, so this really is a community effort."

As kindergartners through fifth-graders descended the steps of yellow school buses, Franklin gave them waves, high-fives and hugs. A few children stopped to pet Ries, who is a certified therapy dog. Others were too nervous and looked around, not really sure of where they were supposed to go.

"There's a lot of nervousness with the new kids because it's an unfamiliar place," Franklin said, "and it's ironic because the school ends up being a second home for kids. They're here as much time as they are at home and sometimes more. So the first couple of days there is a little anxiety, but usually within the first five or 10 minutes, that breaks free. We greet the kids here out on the steps. We greet them at the doorway. We have somebody in every classroom to make every child feel welcome and at home."

 
 

 

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