First day at Bordewich-Bray Elementary
August 27, 2007
The tetherball flew in crazed loops between four hands and an occasional elbow. A pair of boys with big grins batted the ball at each other as four others cheered them on.
Nearby, a rainbow of balls bounced in random rhythms.
The first recess of the year had begun at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School.
Amid the cheers raced Chloe Miller and Hannah Popham, both 7, both second graders from Susan Peterson’s class.
Hand in hand they ran across the playground. Best friends reunited after a summer-long separation by the start of school.
Wearing an ankle-length dress, Hannah had already learned at least one lesson Monday.
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“These things are already killing me,” she said, flashing a pair of black heels from beneath her skirt.
Though separated for the summer, the pair kept in touch by phone.
“We just kept calling and calling each other,” Hannah said.
Looking forward to the school year, the pair said they were excited about the start of school. Hannah added that her favorite subject was “mostly math.”
Valerie Dockery was experiencing her first recess of the year, too. An 11-year veteran of school administration, she took over this year as principal.
Monitoring students during recess, she redirected two boys after one of them knocked the other to the ground by jumping on him.
“We don’t want to be jumping on each other,” she said. “We don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
Dockery and the other school district employees were not alone as playground monitors.
Members of the school’s leadership class lent their support.
Fifth grader Alison Miller, 10, stood out in the crowd with her leadership T-shirt.
“Leadership used to mean muscles,” she said. “Now it means being nice to people, not being disrespectful; helping people with their needs. We are trying to get everybody to respect everybody, to respect the school.
“Leadership students help people solve their problems.”
Tristan Fox, 10, also a fifth grader, and Alison’s friend since kindergarten, said the work of the leadership class was “pretty cool.”
“There are some kids here who are kind of mean. They try to make the kids be nice and show respect for our school.” Which, according to Tristan, is the best.
“I like my school. The teachers are nice, most everyone is nice and it’s pretty with all the plants and the new playground.”
Thirty minutes after the first bell all was quiet, 16 pairs of swings hung motionless moving only with the morning breeze. The tether was still against its pole and the bouncing and cheering were silenced. The first recess of the year was over.