Source: Valley Roadrunner

First day of school ‘off to a great start!’

August 28, 2013

Thursday’s first day of classes at the Valley Center Pauma Unified School District went very smoothly, according to Superintendent Lou Obermeyer.

She told the Roadrunner, “I visited every school today and students were excited to be back in school. The high school had their traditional opening with a Pep Rally in the gym and they were treated to Mr. Ron McCowan (the principal) singing a song about heroes.”

The superintendent also visited the middle school where, “sixth grade students were in the multipurpose room leaning about school routines, recess times, lunch and other information to orient them to a new school.

“At Pauma, students in Mrs. Songer's class were learning class routines and having a wonderful time with a positive, energetic teacher,” she said.

“At Lilac School I saw Mrs. Bassett's kindergarten class lining up, at VCE, Mrs. Yancey was taking pictures of her students in graduation robes to support the schools going to college culture, at Oak Glen all students were in class and ready to learn and at the Primary School, Ms. Callahan's kindergarten students were sitting in a circle on the carpet listening to the teacher tell them they would learn how to read. We are off to a great start!”

Enrollment for the first day was 4,040, which is 103 less than projected but 22 above last year's first day. Historically, enrollment increases for the first couple of weeks of school.

As we do every year at this time, we checked in with each of the principals at their various campuses to describe the opening day experience.

Ron McCowan told the paper, “The High School got off to a great start with our annual first day rally. ASB chose the theme of ‘Be A Hero.’ The students were introduced to the idea that anybody can be a hero if you perform acts of kindness that make someone’s day better. An example of this would be simply helping a student that can't find their class or taking the time to stop and ask a fellow student what is wrong when you can tell they are struggling with something.”

McCowan added, “It was great to see students running around giving handshakes and hugs to both fellow students and staff that they missed seeing over the summer. I know the end of summer is hard on many students today, most of them seemed to be very happy to be back in school once they got on campus.”

Wendy Heredia, principal of the VC Elementary School, said, “We had a wonderful first day. Our Roadrunner students were eager and happy to return to school. We are beginning our year with 545 students and looking forward to a great new school year.”

She added, “We appreciated having the many parents join us this morning to drop off their children and help them find their way to classes.

We also enjoyed visiting with our parents after drop off at our first Annual TPC Welcome. They provided yummy donuts and coffee for our parents to kick off our new year. Many thanks to our Teacher Parent Club for all they do for our school! We encourage all of our Roadrunner families to join TPC in their efforts to help our school and students.”

Rose Flowers, principal at Lilac School, said, “The first day of school at Lilac was full of high energy and broad smiles. Lilac Lizards were eager to reconnect with friends after the summer break and excited to meet their new teachers. Teachers immediately began to lay the framework for lasting relationships with their students. Just a couple of our youngest Lizards dropped a few tears when parting with their parents in the morning. In a few minutes, they had recovered and were making new friends. Students are especially enjoying our new shade structure over our playground in this August heat. We had a very smooth opening.”

Jon Petersen, principal at VC Middle School, commented “Nearly eight hundred Thunderhawks ‘blasted off into a new school year today at the middle school. This year's theme is to ‘aim high,’ and our students did just that at our first-ever opening-day pep rally that was out of this world.”

Petersen added, “There were smiles everywhere on our opening day, as students shared stories from summer vacation and met their new teachers. Not only did we welcome two hundred and forty one new sixth-graders to our school, but also five new teachers — Jeff Collings, Jose Melo, Rebecca Embrey, Sean Castillo, and Kenny Vexler. The positive attitude demonstrated by both teachers and students showed that they will have C.L.A.S.S. — Character, Leadership, Attitude, Scholarship, and Service — our ideals for the 2013-14 school year.”

Mike Schanze, principal, Oak Glen High School/Valley Center Prep School, described the first morning activities. “We had a great opening day at Oak Glen High School and Valley Center Prep School. At Oak Glen, students are excited to be back learning with friends. Teachers are excited to use new technology as learning tool in our flexible learning environment. Valley Center Prep School had our opening day orientation with students and parents and was a great success. Thank you for your support.”

Tina Calabrese, principal at the Primary School, said, “The Primary School had a wonderful first day! Our busy bees were happy and learning. The returning students walked in with great confidence and our Kindergarten/TK students were smiling and making new friends. The teachers were eager to start the year. Our students were incredibly well behaved and remembered our school commitments: Be respectful, be responsible, be caring, be healthy and safe. The Primary School is looking forward to the best year yet. Welcome Back!”

Leiani Osugi, principal of Pauma School, told the Roadrunner, “Our students entered campus with smiles on their faces excited to meet friends, teachers and their new Principal. The transition from summer to our new school year was smooth. Students and staff were very happy to see the upgrades to our facilities. It was a beautiful day filled with smiling faces ready to learn.”