Back to the books: School resumes in Lyon County; signs indicate enrollment drop |

Back to the books: School resumes in Lyon County; signs indicate enrollment drop

Teri Vance
Photos by Jim Grant/Nevada AppealMaddisyn Young, a first grader at Dayton Elementary School, walks to class Monday with her little sister Syla on the first day of school.

In her second year as student body president of Dayton High School, Haley Johnson, 17, is ready to make some changes.

“We want to try new things and do fun stuff,” she said.

And she’s not just talking the talk, she’s doing the dance.

Johnson joined the school’s leadership class, made up of school and class officers and other leaders, Monday morning in a flash-mob style dance routine during the first-day-of-school assembly.

She said the crew choreographed the moves to the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling,” at 2 a.m. during a leadership retreat.

Not only did it break the ice for the first day of school, but set the tone for the upcoming year.

“Hopefully it gets out to the students that we’re open to that kind of stuff,” said leadership student Kyle Farnworth, 17. “We just want to keep it open and loose.”

In addition to involving more of the student body, Johnson said she also wants activities to be more organized and structured so that students know what to expect.

And junior Samantha Gillenwater, 16, the public relations officer, plans to involve the public as well.

“I want the community to know about our stuff,” she said. “I want it to be out there and get the community involved.”

Principal Wayne Workman will join the effort in getting the word out.

“We want to let them know what great young people we have,” he said. “All the good things they do.”

For now, though, he’s enjoying having students back at the school.

“I love the kids,” he said. “It’s a blast being with them.”

Caroline McIntosh, superintendent of the Lyon County School District, visited all 18 schools throughout the county on Monday.

“They look fantastic,” she said. “It was a wonderful first day.”

There is some trepidation in the district, however, as preliminary numbers indicate an enrollment drop by about 5 percent.

This year, 8,301 students showed up for the first day of school, down 465 from last year’s 8,766.

Although the count won’t be official until the middle of September, when officials expect more students will be attending, it is still worrisome.

“The high unemployment in the third most struggling county in the nation is certainly having an effect on us,” McIntosh said.

At Dayton’s Sutro Elementary School, kindergarten teacher LaVon Anderson spent the first day reassuring parents.

She went over the rules of the classroom, explaining what parents should expect from the school and from students.

The following day, however, parents would not be allowed. She tried to prepare the students.

“They might be sad that you’re leaving,” she warned the little ones. “You just have got turn around and say, ‘Be tough, Mom and Dad.'”

She gave one last assurance to the parents. As the mother of four children, she said, her biggest concerns when sending them off to kindergarten were: “Are you going to love them and are they going to get to go to the bathroom when they want?”

“The answer is yes and yes,” she said. “I love children. I love this job. They’re my kids. I call them my kids, not my students.

“I know you don’t know me, but you can trust me.”