By Denny Morrison

I really do not know how (the first week of school) could have gone any better. The elementary schools were filled with smiling teachers and students. Our secondary schools were in full swing with kids moving through the hallways as they were making their way to their next class. This is a real tribute to everyone working together. Thank you for an awesome beginning.

Xenia Preschool: The open houses were terrific. All of the classrooms looked wonderful. Students received Xenia Preschool T-shirts, books on numbers, colors, and shapes, flash cards, and crayons to take home. The screening day was a busy one as they screened 52 students in one day. This brings the current number of students to approximately 226 students.

Arrowood: The kindergarten team of Tammy Babb, Katie Cronin, Lindsay Cravens and Sheri Espedel did an excellent job giving our incoming students a great first experience. A special thanks to Leslie Singleton and Kristy Christian for providing our new families with their undivided attention and information about Arrowood. Thanks also to Lori Deborde, head cook, for preparing snacks for our incoming families.

Cox: Cox Elementary students participated in a summer reading program to keep their skills sharp by reading a weekly story and completing a corresponding activity about the passage. Thanks to Deborah Holmes for monitoring this program. Cox is going to kick off a great year with a Family Literacy Night 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1. There will be delicious food, family reading activities, free books, raffle items, and much more.

McKinley: McKinley held its kindergarten open house last Friday evening. A very appreciative crowd was in attendance. Wednesday was the first day for the full kindergarten classes. McKinley’s open house and Back to School Bash were a huge success with more than three quarters of the families participating.

Shawnee: Third grade teacher Heather Combs applied for a grant this past summer for Shawnee. The organization “Donors Choose” had a special funding event that focused on fitness and healthy living. Combs was fully funded for a fitness and health initiative at Shawnee. Due to her hard work, Shawnee will receive Hokki Stools, basketballs, playground balls, ladder toss games, spike ball games, scoop ball toss, jump ropes, swing ball, a giant connect four game, and baseball equipment.

Tecumseh: A team of first and second grade teachers, Marisa Morrison, Julie Shrock, Breeona Shiflet, and Principal Cathryn Petticrew developed a new arrival process at Tecumseh. Students entering before 9 a.m. are placed in the gym by grade level and provided baskets of books for the students to read. This system has provided a smooth transition for the beginning of the school year and the kids are enjoying the time to read.

Warner Middle School: The WEB Program (Where Everyone Belongs) helped to kickoff a terrific start. Almost every incoming sixth grade student attended the program prior to the beginning of school. The students had a great time, received their schedules, were given building tours, and practiced opening their lockers. Karen Nolen, Dana McClain, Justin Shirley and the eighth grade WEB leaders really did a super job of alleviating the fears of the students coming to a new building.

High school: The high school is really getting into the theme of Thankful Thursday. Students Michael Ronayne, Courtney Murray, Alexis Bowen, Tierra Webb, Jordan Summerville and Harley Morris and their teachers Kathy Steiner, Diane Satanek, and Barbara Jervis shared afternoon snacks with Principal Dr. Hank Jackoby. New athletic director Nathan Kopp shared donuts and juice with the 16 senior high school football players. The high school had a freshman orientation Aug. 10. Incoming ninth grade students were welcomed by the high school administrators, were given a draft of their schedule, received tours of the building, participated in a scavenger hunt, had a relay race led by student council members, and enjoyed lunch together. General expectations and graduation requirements were reviewed.

Star Spangled Spectacular: The First Church of Christ in Xenia has been presenting patriotic programs for the last 30 years where they always tell a certain story. This year they did a World War II story focusing on working in a factory to support the troops. This year they had live music during the performances provided by Greg Sell and the XHS Jazz Band. The jazz band was a “big band” and performed many of the Glenn Miller hits. The jazz band also did a pre-concert show of favorite summertime hits. Barb and Bill Richey wrote the script and Barb was the set designer. The highlight of the show was the salute to the men and women in the audience who have served in the armed forces.

Educator’s Night at the National Museum of the USAF: With the opening of the fourth building and the temporary exhibit Math Alive, the National Museum is having a special evening for staff Thursday, Sept. 1. Admission is free.

Denny Morrison is superintendent of Xenia Community Schools.