First Day of School at Colina

Kindergartner Raeyne Madison tries to stay with her mother, Reagan Evy (left) instead of going with teacher Jen Askins (right) while her little brother, Dwayne Madison, 4, watches during the first day of school at Kyrene de la Colina Elementary School on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Summer vacation is now a thing of the past, as families across the Kyrene School District flooded their schools Monday morning for the first day of the 2014-15 school year.

Many parents and students at Kyrene de la Colina Elementary School arrived nearly an hour before school started in efforts to situation themselves before the day began.

Colina principal Kelley Brunner greeted new and returning families near the playground gates and handed each parent visitor passes. Parents were allowed to walk their child onto the playground for the first day of school and help them find where they had to line up.

Due to security measures, parents will not be permitted to walk onto the playground area for the remainder of the school year.

Shannon Kingman said her kindergartner was thrilled about the first day of school and was wearing her backpack since 6 a.m.

“We know that this school is great, and they help prepare us a lot,” she said. “The quality of the school is amazing.”

Kingman, membership development director for the Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce, said the teachers and staff at Colina ensured parents felt welcomed into the school’s community prior to the first day of classes.

Once the first bell rang at 7:45 a.m., kindergartners lined up with their classes and ventured in Colina to start their first day of school.

Jacque Truax, kindergarten teacher, said she was excited to start the first day of school and to see all her new students.

“It’s kind of a rush for me,” she said. “I can’t wait to find out more about the kids.”

Parents were invited to attend to a new family breakfast inside Colina’s library where they mingled with other families new to the school.

The breakfast was hosted by Colina’s Parent Teacher Organization to welcome new families and make them feel more at ease about their child’s new school.

“We felt very warm when we came to first check out the school,” said Donna Turner, new parent to Colina. “It’s a very warm environment and the kids were comfortable and that was important to us.”

Turner, who has lived in Ahwatukee for the past nine years, transferred her two children to Colina and said it has been an easy transition for them.

“I think they both will be fine,” she said.

Brunner spoke with parents during the breakfast about Colina’s policies on safety and explained to parents about the volunteer opportunities the school offers.

“Our hope is to get families get involved with the school’s community,” she said.

Centennial Middle School, next door to Colina, also was in a buzz Monday morning as many Sabercats returned to campus.

Students walked through the school’s courtyard, chatted with their friends and searched for their classes.

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