SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT
Gus Bayard spends a final moment with his mom, Amy, before heading off to Katie Boesen’s kindergarten class at AME for his first day in school Monday.
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH – After a quiet summer of housing the Island Community Center’s summer camp, the Anna Maria Elementary School campus is alive again with students, some here for their first year and others for their last.
It’s a process that goes on every year and for those newcomers, it takes a little more care.
AME Principal Tom Levengood took time out from perhaps the busiest morning of the school year to visit the kindergarten students, who were staged at the auditorium where they were gathered into classroom groupings. He assured the parents that their children were in good hands.
After spending some final moments with their parents and trading embraces, they got up and marched toward the rooms that would become the launching pads for their public education.
Perhaps the hugs were for the benefit of the children. Perhaps they were for the benefit of the parent. For those moms who were letting go of their firstborn children for the first time, there was some trepidation as their offspring began a new chapter, one that would guide them through tremendous physical and mental growth.
Would they accept the challenges that they would face or would they embrace them? That’s the difference between surviving and excelling.
But for now, those youngsters with their eyes wide open were taking that first step.
The enrollment at AME stands at around 290, according to registrar Amy Slicker. The number of kindergarten children is down, not only at AME but district-wide, she said.
After the kindergartners got to their classrooms, the first thing they did while settling into their desks was to watch the morning show, which is telecast from the media room to all the classrooms. Levengood and guidance counselor Cindi Harrison ran a video of all the rules for the new students such as walk, don’t run, to your destination and don’t talk while you walk.
After that, it was a day of learning names, procedures and what would be required of these youngsters as they start the new year at the little school on the Island