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With Cheers, Scranton Welcomes Back Students

September 7, 2018

SCRANTON — The first day of school included cheers, tears and heat.

As most of the Scranton School District’s 10,000 students returned to class Thursday, temperatures in some classrooms reached 95 degrees. Despite the heat, teaching and learning began.

“Overall it was a good day,” Superintendent Alexis Kirijan, Ed.D., said in an email. “Teachers and students were happy to be back.”

Neil Armstrong Elementary in North Scranton remains closed to students until Tuesday, after maintenance found mold in the school. On Thursday, several glitches occurred with new students registering, but central registration worked to address the issues, Kirijan said.

The school year marks several changes for the financially struggling school district, which laid off 16 teachers last week. The district eliminated all librarians and reduced students’ exposure to classes such as art, music and physical education. The teachers union plans to fight the layoffs.

Outside John F. Kennedy Elementary School in South Scranton, nervous students wiped tears from their eyes and proud parents snapped photos. A disc jockey played upbeat music to welcome the kids into the school.

At West Scranton High School, cheerleaders lined the steps and the marching band played on the sidewalk as students arrived. Cheerleaders chanted as the students entered the building.

“West Scranton is known for our pride,” new Principal Robert DeLuca said. “We just want to welcome all of the kids back.”

Drivers on busy Luzerne Street honked their horns and gave the cheerleaders and musicians thumbs up.

This school year, West’s attendance area expanded to include students who live within the boundaries of Kennedy and McNichols Plaza elementary schools. Cheerleaders said they wanted to make everyone feel welcome.

“We’re just bringing school spirit to everyone,” said senior McCae Dougher, a cheerleading captain. “West is best because we’re a tightknit community. We support West Scranton, starting from the womb. Once a West Sider, always a West Sider.”

Just before homeroom started, the cheerleaders put their arms around each other and sang the alma mater as the band played.

“Blue and white are always loyal, West Scranton Senior High.”

Contact the writer:

shofius@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9133;

@hofiushallTT on Twitter

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