AME kicks off another school year
TOM VAUGHT | SUN
Heidi Johnston spends a quiet moment with her
HOLMES BEACH – There was excitement in the air as the teachers and staff took their positions outside Anna Maria Elementary School to make sure every student on the first day of school got a wristband, color coded to show how each child is to get home.
The first school bus pulled up and fifth-grader Angelina Sculco became the first student off the bus.
As the morning progressed, students got to their classes, all except the kindergartners who gathered in the auditorium.
Morgan Harlan was one of the moms getting ready to turn her son, Payton, over to the public school system. He had already been introduced to institutional education, having attended the School for Constructive Play in Anna Maria, where his sister, Ava, would be after he was safely in his classroom.
Payton said he wanted to learn how to read first.
“I already know how to read two books,” he said. He would most likely enjoy the Rotary Reading Program, which motivates kids toward reading and rewards them with patches they attach to a sash, which they can wear. His dad, incidentally, attended AME for his elementary school education. His mom, has two more children to get into elementary school in the future.
Josh and Lisa Calvert sat with their daughter, Cassie, who spotted some friends from pre-school. She was happy to see them, but she wanted to stick close to her parents as they awaited word to line up and walk to their classrooms. Cassie said she wanted to learn math first.
As that moment neared, Payton became apprehensive and started to weep as his mother put her arms around him. He was pushing her to the limit where tears started welling in her eyes. It was trauma not only for the kids, but also the parents.
As they sat in a line on the floor, Heidi Johnston held her daughter, Kendall, in her arms, taking in a last hug before she would have to make the small steps toward the classroom. It was a quiet time and they each took it in stride with no tears, but some apprehension in their faces.
Harlan accompanied Payton to his classroom and returned for the introduction breakfast, where officials talked about the upcoming school year. PTO President Sue Carroll encouraged the new parents to get to know each other and get some phone numbers from other parents in their children’s classrooms.
The stage was set for another year of learning.