Tears, excitement begin new school year

Published 8:47 pm Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tracy Moore snaps a shot on her cellphone Tuesday morning of her children, Kelera Moore, 8, Tre Moore, 6, and Jada Moore, 10, beside a sign featuring the Creekside Elementary School mascot.

Bus loops were humming, parking lots packed and corridors teeming for the first day of the new school year at Suffolk’s public schools Tuesday.

At Creekside Elementary in North Suffolk, Tracy Moore was one of many parents turning their children over to the school system.

She herded 6-year-old Tre Moore, 8-year-old Kelera Moore and 10-year-old Jada Moore beneath a sign depicting an alligator, the school mascot, snapped a commemorative photograph with her cellphone, then ushered them inside.

At Creekside Elementary Tuesday, Amber and James Poole help their kindergartener son Talyn Poole settle in during his first day of school.

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“I’m happy to bring them back,” she said. She’s also looking forward to some “quiet time.”

With the kindergarten ritual not occurring for her this year, Moore’s eyes were dry. But one didn’t have to look far at Creekside for tears glistening on the faces of other parents.

Amber Poole was teary as she and husband James Poole helped their son come to terms with the big change.

Talyn Poole seemed to take the situation in his stride, going straight for the crayons.

“Yesterday he was asking me for help with Mario; today he’s going to ask me for help with his homework,” James Poole said.

Amber Poole said it was “definitely” an emotional day, saying that her son was well prepared for his first day. “He did a summer program, and he loved it.”

Talyn Poole’s teacher is Melissa Zawodny, who was back from the summer full of energy.

“It’s my favorite time of the school year,” she beamed. “They all come in fresh-faced and a little nervous.”

Zawodny’s mom, in the classroom with her, was a much-appreciated extra pair of hands. “She comes in to help me unpack, but sometimes, with teary eyes, you need some extra hugs.”

Cheryl Debraux, grandparent of kindergartener Demari Mayfield and fourth-grader Keazha Mayfield, brought with her a bag of classroom supplies.

Getting her grandchildren ready was not easy, she said. “They moved very slowly this morning,” she said. “Keazha had a blanket around him and kept saying, ‘I’m tired.’”

David Manning said he was relieved to be dropping daughter Naloni Manning at Creekside. With his wife away in Japan, “it has been a rough year,” he said.

In the end, Creekside principal Katrina Rountree said, students were in the building and settling in by 9:15 a.m., “and that’s almost 900 students.”

Suffolk’s public middle and high schools were also hives of activity. Nansemond River High principal Thomas McLemore said things were running smoothly Tuesday.

“I wouldn’t say they (students) are all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed,” he said. “It’s going to take them a little while to get accustomed to everything (again).”