Southington Schools Open with Excitement, Anticipation

Students filed their way back into the classroom on Thursday morning and students, parents and school officials expressed excitement heading into the new school year.

Erin O’Neill, a third-grade student at , was all smiles as she walked along Dunham Street with her siblings Kevin and Claire, both who started kindergarten Thursday, right beside her.

Some students may have been timid, but not the O’Neill family who said the chance to meet new principal Megan Bennett and walk the halls just a few days earlier said Catherine O’Neill.

“My kids are excited. Thalberg is a great school and has always been a warm and welcoming place, but with a new principal and a lot of new experiences ahead, they are looking forward to a great year,” O’Neill said as she dropped her children off.

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Southington schools opened without a hitch on Thursday as students filed into the classrooms ready to learn, grow and enjoy a great school year.

Outside , students were gathering as early as 7 a.m., some catching up and sharing their summer adventures while others were already busy trying to figure out where their classes were and how to get to their homerooms.

Zaya E. Oshana, a sophomore, said it was “a little tough” to wake up early and get out of bed when his alarm clock went off, but he was looking forward to getting back on schedule and meeting the challenges ahead.

“My biggest goal this year is to just make it through my AP course,” he said.

SHS Principal Martin Semmel said students can look forward to a lot of familiar sites and schedules, paired with some new wrinkles such as the “student success plans” program, which will pair a group of 12-16 students together with a staff member who will work beside them throughout their high school careers.

Across town at Thalberg, students in Karen Aduskevich’s fourth-grade classroom, it didn’t take long for the students to get back into the swing of things. Upon entering the classroom, the students were encouraged to create their own “graffiti collages” with their name and any pictures or words to describe the emotions going through their head as the day started.

The students were attentive as Aduskevich talked with them about their summers, their feelings and the school year to come.

It’s that warm, caring environment that led new principal Megan Bennett to join Southington in the past and she said the transition has been seamless thanks to her hard-working staff.

“It’s been an amazing experience so far,” Bennett said Thursday. “Once I had a chance to meet everyone and see the caring climate already in place, it made my job a lot easier. I hope we will be able to convey that climate to our parents and students today and throughout the year.”

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