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Students Trek Back to School

Last week, there were open houses, orientations, and even a barbecue at Hybla Valley Elementary School. This week, it was down to business, as all schools in Mount Vernon opened. Most private schools either opened Tuesday or were already in session.

Barbara Hubbard, principal at Stratford Landing Elementary School, was out in the hallway welcoming students and parents back to the school during their Open House last Thursday. Stratford Landing students spent an hour visiting their new classrooms and meeting their new teachers.

Many parents visited Hybla Valley Elementary School's Open House Thursday and then enjoyed barbecue in the courtyard. Principal James Dallas said that he wasn't sure how many attended, but knew that they had gone through all of the 575 hot dogs, as well as the cakes and cookies donated by Costco.

"I'm glad to see that the community has come out to support us," said Dallas, who was recruiting PTA members. He was excited that Doris Dabney had agreed to serve as PTA president.

ORIENTATION AT Walt Whitman Middle School began early the next day. Otha Davis, principal at Walt Whitman, greeted seventh graders to their first orientation on Friday morning. Helping him coordinate events were office secretary Margaret Sparks; assistant principals Pamela McKnight and Mike Hammond; and Deanna Williamson.

Ninth graders at West Potomac also had their orientation Friday morning, including a dry run for the new students riding the bus to school. A group of a dozen students gathered at the corner of Waynewood Boulevard and Dalebrook Drive on Friday morning, waiting for the bus to arrive — it came right on schedule at 8:20.

Fort Hunt Elementary School also started early on Friday with their Open House. First grader Glenn Rushing II, was escorted to the Open House by his parents, Yvette and Glenn Rushing Sr., and his grandmother, Gloria Dillard.

Inside, students checked the posted class lists trying to determine who their teachers and classmates were. Principal Carol Coose was on hand to meet with families returning to the school, and those there for the first time.

REALITY SET IN on Tuesday, however, when students returned to the schools for a full day. Some students from Waynewood struggled to catch the 6:30 bus to West Potomac. Suddenly, the 8:20 bus they caught the week before sounded much more attractive.

Families at Waynewood Elementary School were learning the ropes with the new Kiss-and-Ride driveway. Principal Daria Groover and assistant principal Maura Caulfield were outside, along with teachers, administrators and PTA representatives, to ensure that the first day went smoothly.

"It looks like it's going pretty well," said Caulfield.

The morning was easy because drop-offs were staggered. The afternoon would be a little more complicated, however, as parents waited for their car pool number to be called to pick up their children.

OVER AT Belle View Elementary School, Principal C. Robert Davis was busy coordinating logistics. "It went very well, the first day," he said. "Parents came through the Kiss and Ride okay. New parents followed along okay."

While their Kiss and Ride has been in existence for some time, he said, "Ours is a little complicated.

"We're looking for a good year," said Davis. "We're fortunate that we'll have an aide for each kindergarten class. We're continuing to emphasize the [curriculum] and SOLS — that's what the parents want, so that's what we'll do."

Meanwhile, Lorton Station was one of several new schools to open Tuesday morning in Fairfax County. Lorton is the first school to open in the Lorton Zip Code in approximately 30 years. Blue and White ribbon were used in the grand opening as they are the new school colors. The new school mascot is the Road Runner.

The school is located on Lewis Chapel off of Lorton Road Near the Autotrain Station.