Students were welcomed back to school at Harborfields on Sept. 3, but for some, the transition was a bit more intimidating. To help ease that anxiety, kindergartners at Washington Drive Primary School were gifted handmade teddy bears that they could squeeze tight if they needed a hug.
Newly appointed Principal Kathy McNally explained that the bears were made by middle schoolers last year as a way to welcome the kindergartners to the district. “It was really a labor of love,” she said, adding that many of the students gave up their lunch period and recess to build the bears.
The PTA donated the materials to make more than 200 bears, each with a green scarf wrapped their necks. Ms. McNally praised Middle School Librarian Judy Boshnack, Family and Computer Science Teacher Christy Roxo and teaching assistants Jean Amodeo, Sarah Zagaja and Suzann Ritchel, who spearheaded the initiative last year.
Ms. McNally plans to continue handing out bears to kindergartners next year as a new tradition, however, with some slight changes. Next year, second graders will make the scarves by hand and tie them around the necks of store-bought teddy bears. “This would be a great way to welcome them to the school,” she said.
But kindergartners weren’t the only ones transitioning to a new school. Students entering Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School were also greeted with hugs and high-fives as they filed off their buses on Sept. 3.
Students spent the day participating in icebreaking activities. Health Teacher Susan Crispino had the students play a game where they would form groups with classmates that shared similar interests and traits. “They need to get to know each other and I need to get to know them,” she said.
Students in Patricia Bacchi’s class made “mountains” on their desks using their supplies, which they slowly began to put away. Middle and high school students also settled into their routines. District administrators, teachers and staff look forward to another exciting school year ahead.
- Kindergartners at Washington Drive Primary School were gifted handmade teddy bears on their first day of school.
- Ella, a kindergartner in Emily Gutheil’s class, hugged her bear tight.
- Students in Patricia Bacchi’s class got to know their classmates.
- Middle school students participated in icebreaking activities.
- Students reconnected at Harborfields High School.
Photos courtesy of Harborfields Central School District