Anna Maria Elementary open for learning

Anna Maria Elementary open for learning
Makena Corr, Eliana Romeo and Mia Fererari,above, hoist the flag outside Anna Maria Elementary School on the first day of classes. - Tom Vaught | Sun

HOLMES BEACH – The new school year got off to a relatively calm start Monday morning with a break in the rainy weather and a concerted effort by staff to keep track of how the students would be going home.

Before the students were allowed inside the building, teachers and staff determined whether they would walk or bike home, take the bus or ride with their parents. Each had a color-coded bracelet around his/her wrist to avoid confusion.

Outside, Makena Corr, Eliana Romeo and Mya Ferrari raised the United States flag, a duty that will be repeated every school day.

Students seemed too intent on getting to their classrooms to be worried about the first day of school. In the hall in front of Kelly Crawford’s kindergarten class, kids and their parents waited for the door to be opened then received the emotional good-bye hug and kiss from the folks to send them on their way to school.

Anna Maria Elementary hug
John Agnelli hugs his daughter, Sadie, before she heads into the kindergarten classroom of teacher Kelly Crawford for her first day of school at Anna Maria Elementary School. – Tom Vaught | Sun

Crawford is the only kindergarten teacher so far this year. There was a drop in the number of kindergarten enrollees and it bucked the trend of girls outnumbering the boys. Her class has 12 boys and four girls. Bridget Querrard, who also taught kindergarten last year, will teach third grade this year. This will settle and could change after a count of students on the 10th day of the school year.

After the bell rang, some parents headed for the “boo-hoo breakfast” held by the PTO, where last year’s president, Janae Rudacille, and this year’s president, Jamie Hynckle, spoke and the new parents heard from several staff members and teachers. Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer introduced former resource officer Sgt. Brian Copeman and current resource officer Josh Fleischer, who will be providing security at the school.

Anna Maria Elementary last hug
Brian Biegel hugs his son, Brydon, outside the kindergarten classroom. – Tom Vaught | Sun

It was a positive start to the first day of school and AME Principal Jackie Featherston said she was sure it would be a productive one for the kids.