IN SESSION: Pike County Schools students begin new year

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, August 8, 2018

On Tuesday, opening day for the Pike County Schools, Superintendent Dr. Mark Bazzell visited each campus in the system. Based on his observations, all Pike County Schools got off to a great start.

“The kids, teachers and staffs on each campus were full of energy and ready to go,” Bazzell said. “Our numbers are up a little over last year’s so we will have to pay close attention to the class sizes over the next couple of weeks. We might have to make some adjustments.”

The Pike County School System includes high schools in Brundidge and Goshen and elementary schools in Brundidge, Goshen and Banks and a middle school at Banks.

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For f4-year-old Charlee Maulden, Tuesday was her first day at school – ever. For Karen Smith, Tuesday was the first day of her 40th year of teaching.

Two firsts, but on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Charlee has not attended nursery school or day care so the first day of school was new to her and so exciting.

She and her mom, Charity Maulden walked into Banks Primary School, hand-in-hand. Maulden was not holding her little daughter’s hand in a reassuring kind of way. Charlee didn’t need reassurance. She was going to school and she couldn’t be happier.

“Charlee has been looking forward to going to school,” her mom said. “She’s happy to be here and I’m glad this is an exciting day for her.”

Charlee had a new red plaid dress and red sneakers and a book bag and a smile that would brighten any room.

Lisa McVay, the lead teacher for Charlee’s Pre-K Class and Arnitra Cotton, the auxiliary teacher, welcomed all 17 students to their class and Charlee took no time in getting to know her teachers and her classmates.

McVay said the first day of school is made better when the children are excited about being in school and she has 17 of them.

Just up the hall from the Pre-K classrooms, Karen Smith was beginning the first day of her 40th year of teaching, 30 of them in the Pike County school system.

Smith welcomed her 19 students, three who were new to Banks School and two whose mothers she had taught.

“When you teach 30 years in the same system, you teach children whose parents you have taught,” Smith said. “And when you teach at a small school, you know everybody. At Banks School, we are family, the teachers, the students, parents, the community. We are a big family.”

With 40 years teaching experience, Smith has seen many changes in teaching methods, in the curriculum and in the children themselves.

“Most children have iphones and they spend a lot of time on them,” she said and added with a smile that they stay up too late playing games and come to school sleepy-eyed.

But even in today’s world of high-speed everything and immediacy in all things, Smith said, there’s one thing that has remained the same.

“Children still love stories,” she said. “They love to read stories and they enjoy having stories read to them. The love of stories never gets old.”

As children of all ages, begin another year of school or the first year of school, the year 2018-2019 will be one of stories – stories that will be forgotten but others that, Smith said, will be remembered and cherished always.