By Kim Walter -- email@example.com
About an hour after Frederick County Public Schools wrapped up it's first day on Wednesday, Superintendent David Sovine was happy to report that it "was a positive start."
Even with construction projects and road work taking place around several county schools, Sovine said everything went smoothly.
"It's always rewarding to see students on their first day back," he said. "The students were excited and the staff was well prepared. It was almost like there wasn't a break between school years, and that's a good thing."
Sovine was able to visit 15 of the county's school Wednesday, and said many classes engaged in academic activities right away.
The county's opening day attendance was 12,774 students, a record high. That's 171 more than last year's first day of school. However, the division is projecting an enrollment of 13,156 by the end of September.
"It says something about the county's reputation when it comes to education," Sovine said of the increased attendance. Frederick County is the 19th largest school division out of 174 in the state. It's also the second largest employer in the area, with a little over 2,000 people working for the school system.
One new employee, Sarah Kline, is teaching for her first time at Middletown Elementary School. She grew up in Clarke County, attended James Madison University, and is now teaching second grade.
"I fell in love with my fifth grade teacher, also a first-year teacher, and she actually went to JMU and did the same program I did," she said. "I'd love to have the same effect on one of my students."
Lori Rohani, a kindergarten teacher at the school, is in her 14th year of teaching, but admitted she still gets nervous.
"We teachers get the butterflies on the first day of school too," she said. Rohani's first day went well, as did her students'. "They're so eager, excited and bright-eyed at this age ... they're like little sponges. They just want to learn."
10-year-old Jessica Eddy, a fifth grader at Middletown Elementary had some advice for kindergarteners.
"Do great and just be yourself," she said. Even though she waited until the last minute to wake up for her first day at school, she said she'll be sad to leave.
Eli Barbe, another 10-year-old in Jessica's class, also said he'd miss the school after this year.
"I'm gonna miss all the great things, like the beautiful bell-thingy in the front of the school," he said. Unlike Jessica, Eli woke up early for his first day back, because he was "really excited and really nervous at the same time."
A third grade student at the school, Regan Minney, 8, said she already made lots of new friends on her first day. She said she was so excited for Wednesday, she woke up early the past two days hoping it was time to head back to school.
"I love school because you get to learn," she said. "And learning is really important."