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A new year dawns
Open houses help to ease early jitters
School WEB 1
Melih Bektas hugs brother Zeynep as they walk into Melih’s kindergarten classroom for the first time at Daves Creek Elementary during open house Tuesday. - photo by Jim Dean

As school starts today in Forsyth County, the system’s youngest students came prepared following open house events at its various elementary schools Tuesday.

There were many questions, as well as skipping and holding of parents’ hands, as rising kindergarteners got a first look at their new home away from home, Daves Creek Elementary.

“She rode the bus for the first time. She’s never done that,” said Malyssa Munroe of her daughter Kayla. “She’s used to having her friends from private pre-K and none of them are here. So she’s getting used to a new teacher, new class, new school and new friends.

“It will be an interesting transition, but I think she will be OK.”

The open houses welcomed back first- through fifth-graders and helped kindergarteners prepare for the transition.

Students were able to meet their teachers for the year and start unloading their supplies into cubbies and desks. And those new to the school or system were able take a look around and meet administrators.

Local vendors, including dance and karate studios, as well as Boy and Girl Scout troops were also at the various open houses. Parent-teacher organizations were also on hand, as were those selling school gear and planners.

But at its core, the event is about introducing children to the school and their teachers, said Big Creek Elementary School Principal Sherri Black.

“It’s a great event because … you can be part of a situation where children are laying eyes on their teachers for the first time,” Black said. “Just seeing what might start out as a little bit of trepidation or anxiety turns into immediate falling in love with someone who is so excited to see them.

“All of the schools are the same way. Teachers have been in their classrooms all summer long and they make it such an easy transition.”

Among those dedicated staff members is kindergarten teacher Danae Hall.

Though she’s been teaching at Sawnee Elementary, it’s her first year at Daves Creek. Regardless of the school, open house and a new year are always fun.

“I love meeting the kids. They’re so excited about coming to school and that’s refreshing,” she said. “They’re nervous, this is a new school and if they don’t have older siblings here, they know nothing about this place.

“It can be very scary for these little guys. And so I think coming in with their parents and walking into their classroom relieves some of the anxiety that comes with starting school.”

Sasikala Sadasivam was anxious to attend the Daves Creek open house with her son, Anshul.

“We wanted him to know how the school works,” she said. “We’ve been looking forward to this. He gets to know the school better and how to get onto the school bus and all that stuff … he feels comfortable now.”

For Sadasivam, the event also quelled any fears a parent has sending their child there for the first time. The school, she said, “is very impressive.”

For Olivia Bowen, Tuesday’s open house was the first day of her last year in elementary school. The rising fifth-grader is looking forward to being in the top grade because “there’s no one that’s much older than me.”

But her view from the top will include frequent trips back to kindergarten to help younger sister Emily adjust.

“It’s going to hurt, because I might be late, but it’s going to help her because she’ll know where to go,” she said.

That’s a relief for the girls’ mother, Liz.

“She gets to help her little sister,” she said. “She gets to help show her around, so I don’t feel so concerned about my kindergartener coming in here by herself. She gets to show her the ropes in every way.”

Dropping off a kindergartener for their first day of school has often been a day of tears for parents, but it doesn’t get much easier, said Danielle Cheek.

Her youngest child, Drew, is entering the fifth grade at Daves Creek. While she knows the drill, Tuesday’s open house “actually makes me kind of sad because it’s the last year of elementary school and she’s growing up.”