After a summer of fun in the sun, students and their parents crowded into Destin Elementary School on Monday morning for the first day of school.
There was a mixture of excitement and anxiety among the students. As some ran to their homerooms to see their friends and teachers, others clung to their parents’ legs and begged them not to leave.
Principal Joe Jannazo spent the morning opening doors as families arrived, greeting parents and helping students find their classrooms. After the bell rang to signal the start of yet another school year, Jannazo welcomed the students over the intercom and invited two second graders — one of them his daughter — to lead the school in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Jannazo said the students spent the first day learning the expectations and rules of the school while the parents got to attend a special “Boohoo, Yahoo” breakfast.
“We provided some refreshments and we had our guidance counselor and some administrators down there” Jannazo said. “We just shared with them some of the things that we do to make sure that their students are safe and that we take care of them.”
The principal said teachers and staff play a huge role in making sure everything runs smoothly.
“We have very fostering teachers here on campus,” he said, “They really know how to make the kids feel welcome.”
This year’s theme for the elementary school is “Making Waves” which Jannazo said is appropriate since the mascot is a dolphin. By starting off each morning with the pledge and a staff-selected quote, he hopes the kids will be inspired to make a difference as they grow up.
As the school year progresses, Jannazo said there’s a lot to look forward to such as the annual Fall Festival fundraiser in October.
“We have vendors from all over the community,” he said. “It’s lots of fun, lots of games … it’s really good as a community builder.”
Meanwhile at Destin Middle School, students ran to find their homeroom as the three-minute warning bell went off. Some struggled to figure out their locker combinations and staff reassured them they would have plenty of time to figure it out. Principal Grant Meyer helped open car doors and welcomed students back with high-fives and fist bumps.
As the first bell rang, Meyer walked through the halls, communicating to staff on a walkie-talkie to help get students into their homerooms.
Principal Meyer was unable to comment for this article before deadline.