A great day in school

Published 10:07 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2016

To us, two photos taken by Suffolk News-Herald staff members on Tuesday perfectly encapsulated the range of emotions students in Suffolk Public Schools must have felt upon returning to school after their long summer break.

Both photos were, coincidentally, of students in the same Early Start class at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School.

One was of 4-year-old Ahmari Hawkins, who strode confidently across the parking lot with his mother as they headed to his very first day of school. He stopped for a photo, smiled and then asked, “Was that smile OK?” Then he belted out the spelling of his own name. Later, sitting in his classroom, he said, “My momma said I’ll do awesome in school.”

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Hawkins simply exuded confidence and enthusiasm about the adventure ahead.

But perhaps our favorite photo of the day — and you can see a gallery of them all on our Facebook page or through our homepage — was the moment we captured with 4-year-old Liam Jones, who sat near little Ahmari, waiting for class to start as he sipped orange juice from a small carton on the desk in front of him. Liam, his chin resting on his hands and glancing up plaintively at the camera with a slight pout of the lips, looked for all the world like a kid who wanted to be anywhere else at that moment.

His grandmother, Katie Jones, emailed on Wednesday to assure us that he’d had a great day at school and on her Facebook page suggested that he was, perhaps, tired and just coming to the realization that summer was truly over.

We’re glad Liam had a good day, and we were also glad to catch him in that precious moment. Trust us, Liam. We understand how you must have felt, and we’re betting that some of your teachers — and others around the city — made the same pouty face at some point during the day.

Everyone would love for vacations to last forever. But they don’t. Sooner or later, the real world reasserts itself, and there’s nothing to do but sip one’s orange juice and contemplate the new reality.

Here’s hoping that all of Suffolk’s students quickly get past the initial reality check of getting back to the books and that the next 180 or so days are, on balance, great ones. You’re going to do awesome in school.