Thousands of students are loading up backpacks and heading back to school over the next two weeks, with the first classes starting in the Days Creek, Glide, Winston-Dillard and Sutherlin schools.
Unlike the other schools starting yesterday, Sutherlin schools had a soft start for the primary school students and those starting a new school.
“We are getting the students who are new oriented to their new schools,” Sutherlin Schools Superintendent Terry Prestianni said. “It’s a soft start, get the students who are new oriented to the school and have a positive first day.”
At East Primary School in Sutherlin, Principal Mendy Endicott enlisted the help of the high school boys’ soccer team to get students excited.
“It was kind of a fun celebration this year,” Endicott said. “We wanted to add older kids to cheer them on and get them excited about their first day. I think it was good for them too.”
District staff members came up from their office just a few blocks away to help direct students and their parents to the right classrooms, which freed Enicott up to welcome the families.
“That anticipation of the first day can create a little anxiety,” Endicott said. “That’s why I wanted people there greeting them, as they adjust to new teachers and new routines.”
At the high school, students said are anticipating more freedom.
“So far it’s pretty fun,” freshman Caelum Hall said. “It’s a whole lot better than the other schools. The teachers and things we get to do, the other schools are not as loose, but now we’re teenagers and a lot older.”
Sutherlin High School Principal Kevin Hunt said he could hear the roar of the freshmen in the activity center from where he was greeting students outside.
“Obviously our students were excited to be here and to see their friends,” Hunt said. “Most of the kids, by the time they get here, they know each other very well.”
Only the freshman had class yesterday and started the morning off with introductions from the teachers and being led in groups by the upperclassmen in the leadership class.
“Small gestures to start building relationships on day one is important,” Hunt said.
The other half of the students who did not attend orientation yesterday will start school today. The rest of the public school districts in Douglas County will start school on Sept. 4 after Labor Day.