By MADDY VITALE
Instead of just opening the doors in the ordinary, regular, and lackluster way some districts begin a new year, Ocean City celebrates with a party of sorts.
Pop music played as students got off the buses at Ocean City High School on Thursday morning. School staff, led by Jill Berenato, Kathy Sykes and Kelly Halliday, who used bullhorns to call out hellos to students, began the opening day festivities.
Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Taylor, High School Principal Matt Jamison and Athletic Director Geoffrey Haines were some of the administrators who greeted the students.
Some 1,200-plus students poured into the festive entrance to the high school, where banners welcomed them along with a host of teachers and other staffers.
School staff wore T-shirts that read “100 percent,” showing students how much the district is behind them.
The school marching band performed as students headed into the hallways. Some students chatted with friends they hadn’t seen all summer.
It was time for school, to see favorite teachers, coaches and classmates.
“I think it’s going to be good,” said freshman Noe Olmedo, 15, of Ocean City. “It’s different from Intermediate School. I have a football game after this. We should do well. We’ve had good practices.”
Lane Michael, also a freshman, summed up the feelings for some on the first day. “I’m excited and a little nervous at the same time,” she said.
And the celebratory mood of the students extended throughout the district as the Intermediate School and Primary School each had their own festive beginning to the new school year.
“Each of the schools welcome the students in a celebratory way,” Dr. Taylor said. “This is what we are about, positive support for our children. This is a great opening day.”
The students are not the only ones who receive warm welcomes by the district.
Jamison said a few years ago, when the district decided to do the pep rallies and celebrations for opening day, it was to show staff and students how much the district cares.
“We want the students and our school staff to know we want them there and we are behind them,” he noted. “Instead of just opening the doors, why not do something better to start the school year?”
School staff lined the hallways there to answer questions from the incoming students. All of them wore their “100 percent” shirts.
Greg Wheeldon, who heads the media department at the high school, is executive producer and advisor for the school’s broadcast, “Current OC.”
He said he is looking forward to the new school year and big things from his students in Current OC.
“I’m excited to get things started,” Wheeldon said with a smile. “Our Current OC will be played in the classrooms this year.”