tom vaught | sun
Above, Sienna Lazar was the first student off
the bus this year at Anna Maria Elementary School.
Below, Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer stands
near the crossing with officer Brian Copeman, the
school’s crossing guard. Tokajer had new signs
erected at the crossing to show people where
to stop while a child crosses the street.
HOLMES BEACH – The staff was ready, classrooms were squeaky clean and the quiet calm that prevailed in Anna Maria Elementary School for the past two months was broken Monday morning as the kids returned to school.
Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer joined officer Brian Copeman, the school’s resource officer, in front of the school. He had additional signage at the school crossing and extra officers were on duty.
“The safety of the children is our main concern,” Tokajer said. “We want to make sure motorists know what is going on here during the school year.”
At least one motorist was pulled over for not slowing down when the lights were flashing and motorists who pass a car on the right, in the bike lane, while that car is turning left, will be ticketed.
The city’s speed limit sign, which tells motorists how fast they are going, was up to make sure the drivers slowed down.
The first bus pulled up, and Sienna Lazar was the first student off. School Counselor Cindi Harrison came out to ask each student how he or she was getting home, and she put color coded bracelets on their arms so school personnel would know where to send the students when the final bell rang Monday. Tokajer joined Harrison, helping get the kids ready for their classrooms.
In the auditorium, kindergarteners and their parents were separated into two sections, one for each teacher, and as the time ran low, there were those loving hugs from parents whose children were taking that first step into public education. And what an education awaits them. With Sarasota Bay in the back, beyond the playground and sports fields, and another A rating, the staff was ready for another year.
Lee Ann Anderson and her husband moved to northwest Bradenton this summer and they chose to have their son, Dutch, attend Anna Maria Elementary. She said they were amazed at what the school offers, and when their son saw the playground equipment, he was ecstatic. They were equally impressed with the school’s educational rating and the amount of help provided by the parents through the PTO.
For now, the kids are settling in and the teachers are busy memorizing names of new students and setting boundaries as the process of education gears up.