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For some, school is cooler on the first day 

District delays school start due to construction

Godfrey-Lee — “Good morning! I’m so glad you’re here. Are you ready?” kindergarten teacher Barbara Parylak greeted her class on the first day of school. 

Lined up outside the Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center, families dropped their students off with new backpacks for a new school year on Tuesday, Sept. 5. 

“I’m most excited to see (my students) start to make friends on the first day of school,” Parylak said.

One of her kindergartners said she was looking forward to coloring on her first day. Another said she already had a friend in her class from last year. 

Due to the continued construction at Lee Middle and High School, the district decided to go back to school after Labor Day for the first time in several years.

By mid-morning, a half-day was called for Lee High School and Godfrey Elementary students, while schools with air conditioning in the entire building, including the ECC, middle school and East Lee Campus, remained in session. (After the completion of the 2020 bond construction projects, Lee High School will also have air conditioning.)

Sitting in their first-hour class in one of the three air-conditioned, temporary classroom spaces created last year with dividers, sophomores Autumn Johnson and Isabella Hernadez recalled their last week of freshman year with no air conditioning as brutal. They were grateful to be spared that experience in the midst of this fall’s equally brutal heat wave. 

“I’m excited to meet my new teachers this year,” Autumn said.

Isabella added she was looking forward to making new friends — and having an air-conditioned school. 

Read more from Godfrey-Lee: 
After-school enrichment program enrolling now
Finding the right bricks for Godfrey-Lee construction

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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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