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DAY ONE: Great Bend students are back in school
A third-grade student in Sharon Jelinek’s vocal music class at Great Bend’s Lincoln Elementary School draws a number as students prepare for a quick contest. Most area students returned to school on Thursday. - photo by photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

Getting to and from the front door was one of the biggest challenges Thursday as most area children, including those in Great Bend, returned to school for the fall semester.

Experienced parents had a plan for dropping off their kiddos. Angelica and Ezequiel Cortez parked more than a block away from Lincoln Elementary and walked their daughter Ithai to the school. She met her fourth-grade teacher earlier in the week at an open house.

The doors opened at 7:20 a.m., giving most students plenty of time to arrive before the first class at 8 a.m.

At Great Bend Middle School, things were a little trickier because the four-way stop at the intersection of 19th and Harrison is new. But crossing guard Carol Delaney said only a few motorists ran a stop sign.

“The parents did really well at this intersection,” Delaney said. “I’m proud of them.”

For third graders at Lincoln, the first class was either physical education or music. P.E. instructor Dale Kuhlman led his group to the playground, explaining the gym was in use for “expectation training.” That’s where students would learn the rules to follow when the gym is in use as the lunchroom.

Employees across the district said they were excited to have students back in the building.

Lincoln Elementary Principal Misty Straub put it this way, “It was nice to see their smiling faces come back from summer school or the end of the school year.

“As always, we want to make sure that we work together as a parent-and-school family,” Straub said. Parents can stay on the same page as the schools and teachers using the apps Seesaw and SchoolMessenger.

There are also School Engagement Coordinators, such as Haley Pierce at Jefferson Elementary School. As with all Great Bend USD 428 employees we talked to this week, Pierce said, “the kids are really excited to be back.” And so were the adults.

While Thursday was the first day of school for most students in Great Bend and elsewhere, only freshmen attended classes at Great Bend High School and only seventh graders attended classes at GBMS. Friday will be the first day of school for GBHS sophomores, juniors and seniors, and GBMS eighth graders.