Arlington students head back to class

ARLINGTON — Raidyn Hendrix was so excited for his first day of school that he forgot how to spell his name.

But he knew his teacher's name — Mrs. Thompson — and had some help from mom and dad as the 5-year-old began his first day of kindergarten.

"He is full of energy and ready to learn," said mother Ali Hendrix as she and Raidyn's father, Destrey, walked the youngster to Presidents Elementary School during this district's first day of school.

On Sept. 9, the Arlington School District kicked off the 2009-10 school year, opening its doors to kindergartners through ninth-graders. Sophomores, juniors and seniors reported back to class Sept. 10.

At Presidents Elementary, students slowly trickled into the school's main entrance at about 8:45 a.m. Parents snapped photos, teachers greeted students and Gail Matson familiarized herself with a new role within the school — crossing guard.

Staff members are being asked to do more within their schools, Matson said, in wake of last year's layoffs within the district.

Matson greeted students with a smile as they crossed East Third Street in front of the school.

"It's been a great start so far," said Matson, who also teaches remedial reading at Presidents. "It's going to be a difficult kind of year."

Principal Terri Bookey spent the first few moments of school near the school's main entrance meeting parents and fielding questions from students.

She said approximately 850 people showed up to the elementary school's back to school night Sept. 8. Each school within the district held an event for parents and students to meet with their teachers and drop off school supplies if needed.

"This morning they're just rolling in," Bookey said. "Lots of smiles."

Joey, 8, and Jessica Tucker, 6, spent their first moments at school getting their photos taken. This year marks the first at a new school for both students.

"I know they're excited, not nervous," said mother Colleen Tucker. "I'm excited — I get a break."

The Tucker siblings weren't the only ones who didn't know what to expect.

Sophia Hale was also starting her first day of kindergarten, and arrived at the school early with her mother, Marisa Hale.

Dressed in a pink sweater and a plaid skirt, the 5-year-old held her mom's hand tightly as the two made their way from the parking lot to the school's front entrance.

"We don't know what to expect," Marisa Hale said. "But I know she's looking forward to meeting new friends."

Click here for more Arlington Back to School photos.

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