MARQUETTE - Textbooks and homework assignments were handed out en mass Tuesday as the first official day of school came and went in the Marquette area.
"I'm very excited to meet new people and I think I will get a good education at this school," said Matthew Zappa, an eighth-grader at Bothwell Middle School.
Matthew's mother, Harvey resident Natalie Zappa, was waiting outside the school this afternoon to pick him up. She said she was sad the summer was already over.
Bothwell Middle School students in Marquette returned to classes Tuesday. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
"I'm sad that my son is going back to school because I can't spend as much time with him," Zappa said.
Bothwell Guidance Counselor Lesley Addison was also outside helping direct the flow of students leaving the building.
"I'm excited to watch the kids grow from one year to the next," Addison said of being back at school for the new year. "I think the first day was very positive overall."
Elementary schools around the area prepared for all-day kindergarten as well, as new state legislation only provides a full foundation allowance for kindergarten students who attend a full day of school.
Before the law was passed, districts could collect a full foundation allowance for kindergartners who attended a half-day of school.
While some districts, such as Gwinn Area Community Schools, were already utilizing a full-day for kindergartners, others such as Marquette Area Public Schools and Ishpeming Public Schools, made the switch this year.
Brian Veale, principal of Birchview Elementary School in Ishpeming, said the first day went off without a hitch and the kids seem excited to be back at school.
"Some of them are nervous, of course. The kindergartners, this is their first time for a full day, that's something different from home," Veale said. "All the kids are excited. They want to see all the changes to the building."
The school saw a number of updates over the summer, including resurfacing the gymnasium floor and putting in a new library.
And though students at Birchview only had a half day today, Veale said the first day went smoothly for the new kindergartners.
"Everything's working pretty well, knock on wood," Veale said.
Over in Westwood High School, Principal David Boase said things got off to a great start, with an assembly in the morning to hand out class schedules and introduce the freshmen to their new school building.
"This was probably as adamant, as excited as I remember high school kids are at being back," Boase said. "But I think a big part of it is to see their friends again, over a long summer. Certainly not that they don't see them over the summer, or aren't in contact on their phones, but there's something different about being back in school."
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.