Youth Head Back to School

Youth Head Back to School

Despite rain and some late buses, the first day of school for Alexandria's 10,500 students begins smoothly.

The bus came at approximately 9:40 a.m. on Tuesday morning for some George Washington Middle School students. School was supposed to start for them at 9:15 a.m.

"The bus was really crowded, too," said Anna Barton, a seventh-grader. "They said they're going to get another bus for us. I sure hope so."

The same was true for buses to Minnie Howard. "My first day at Minnie Howard, I liked meeting new kids, but I didn't like how I had to wait so long for the bus in the rain," said Robert Purdy.

His friend, Louis Barnett, agreed. "I liked seeing all my friends and getting introduced to new subjects. I didn't like that summer was over and we had to go back to school now," he said.

Throughout the city, students were greeting friends and teachers and principals were greeting students.

"Our first day was great — one of the best I've ever had," said John Porter, principal at T. C. Williams High School. "I'm sure this bodes well for the rest of the year."

Students at T. C. did not face the construction that had been scheduled to begin over the summer. That has been delayed until December. However, some classrooms have already been moved out of the career wing in preparation for the work and more will move over the next two months. The project will take until March, 2007, according to the current schedule.

Other public school students returned to schools where projects were already underway. At Minnie Howard, new carpeting and tile was installed, classrooms were upgraded and the roof was replaced, at the cost of approximately $750,000. The full Minnie Howard renovation project has been delayed to pay for the T. C. project.

Approximately $7.5 million in renovations took place at 14 schools in the city, including landscaping, sidewalk replacement and upgrades to heating, air conditioning and electrical systems. The most extensive renovations occurred at Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy, where the entire HVAC system was replaced and at Maury Elementary School, where the first phase of its year-long renovation was completed.

At Lyles-Crouch, parents said the first day of school went well. "A number of parents who live in Del Ray and are at Lyles-Crouch through the lottery did not receive information on bus schedules," said Kate Watters, the PTA president at the school. "Other than that, everything went very smoothly. Our new principal was at the door to greet the children as they arrived and everyone is looking forward to a good year. The PTA is working on renovating our playground. We hope to replace the equipment, build a half basketball court and do some landscaping. I was very pleased with the way the year began."