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‘A mixture of nerves and excitement’

Day filled with firsts   

Byron Center — Fifth-graders Deborah Emmitt and Madisyn Smith chose desks near the front of their new classroom on the first day of school at Nickels Intermediate. 

The two opened new packages of glue sticks, loaded their pencil pouches and organized their folders, while discussing what they were most looking forward to that day.

“Recess!” Deborah said, and Madisyn agreed. 

Deborah also said she was excited for her new teacher, Ellie Snyder.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know all of my students, and it’s been fun watching them explore their new school,” Snyder said.

In the hallways, fifth- and sixth-graders found their lockers and followed their maps to find the right classroom. Staff positioned themselves as guides around every corner. 

Assistant Principal Stephanie Hare greeted students at the front doors with high-fives and a smile. 

“Anything new is a mixture of nerves and excitement,” Hare said. “We have so much space here and it’s great to see it all come together for the first day.” 

After the first bell rang, Principal Tom Trout’s voice came over the intercom for morning announcements.

He ended by saying, “This is the first time we’re going to stand for the pledge of allegiance in our new building.” 

Read more from Byron Center: 
Fifth- and sixth-graders to start school in new building
A bumper crop of summer learnings

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”


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