Public school doors open to new year|[08/04/08]

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 4, 2008

Freshly painted walls at Bovina Elementary were covered with brightly painted banners this morning as teachers greeted students with welcome signs and cheers on the first day of school.

“I am just really excited to finally have the students here,” said Bovina Principal Micki Ginn as she displayed a bouquet of roses given to her by a student. “It’s just all been great.”

Bovina reopened this year, almost 10 years after being closed, and joined others in the Vicksburg Warren School District welcoming about 9,000 students to the earliest back-to-school date in local history. Major renovations, including a 30-by-60-foot addition to the Bovina cafeteria, have been done to ready the school for its 435 students and staff members.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“The teachers have worked so hard to get everything ready, and everyone has been so excited,” Ginn said. “We had an open house Friday, and it was packed to the point that there was standing room only.”

Bovina was not reopened due to overall district growth, but to balance loads among the elementaries. While closed, it served for a time as the Center for Alternative Programs, now at Grove Street, and then for storage. Two other schools closed for the consolidation that occurred when new schools at Sherman Avenue and on Dana Road opened, Halls Ferry and Jett, were sold and torn down by the new owners. A third, Culkin, remains vacant.

At Bovina, first-grade teacher Denice Poe said her plans for the day were to have her class pre-sent their “me bags” – a brown bag they had decorated and filled with things representing their personalities – read a little and even write in shaving cream.

“I moved over here to be able to teach the younger children,” said Poe, who taught at Bowmar last year. “It is wonderful. The little schools are just great.”

Synthia Goodson, 6, one of Poe’s students, was equally excited.

“I was dreaming all last night about school today,” said Synthia, the daughter of Stephen Sellars and Gena Carrick. “And, then I got here and I got to sit next to my friend Amber. It’s a good day.”

Classmate Jagger Weekly, 6, the son of Chad and Mandy Weekly, said “I like my new school,” and noted that he couldn’t wait for recess.

Bovina parents made breakfast for teachers and staff members this morning. Also, retired teachers, including many who taught at Bovina before it closed, were on hand to help with the first day of school.

One of them was Margaret Caldwell, who said that when she heard the school was reopening, she immediately volunteered to help.

“My room was right there,” Caldwell said, pointing down the hall. “It is really neat to be back here.”

Other openingsVicksburg Community School opens WednesdayVicksburg Catholic School and Porters Chapel students return on ThursdaySuperintendent James Price said no problems had been reported this morning. Traffic along U.S. 61 North at Sherman Avenue moved smoothly, he said. It has bottlenecked in years past.

“This morning has been hectic,” Ginn said, “but it hasn’t been bad at all. We knew what to expect and we were ready.”

In addition to Bovina’s opening, the VWSD is beginning the 2008-09 school year with two changes.

A new schedule is being followed. It will include four bonus weeks and eliminate summer school. The bonus weeks follow the nine-week terms and will provide remediation time for students who have fallen behind. Other students will be out for those weeks.

Also, this year will mark the first time in nearly four decades that the VWSD will not operate under federal court oversight that began with a desegregation court order in 1969. The VWSD board of trustees voted unanimously Thursday to accept an offer by the U.S. Department of Justice to end its supervision.