School year opens with excitement

Students at Central Kitsap High School check out their lockers as they return to school on Wednesday for the first day of classes. Kindergarteners return on Monday. - Seraine Page
Students at Central Kitsap High School check out their lockers as they return to school on Wednesday for the first day of classes. Kindergarteners return on Monday.
— image credit: Seraine Page

It was back to school for students and staff across Kitsap County on Wednesday morning.

“It was a beautiful summer, I have to  say,” said Central Kitsap High School Principal Steve Coons. “I enjoyed it immensely, but I’m excited for the new school year.”

It is Coons’ sixth year as principal at the high school, and he said the one thing that remains constant every school year is the excitement from students and staff. This year the school has a student body of 1,190 students, which averages around 26 to 30 students per classroom, Coons said. Some are larger — like chorus — while others remain the standard size for courses like English. At 7:55 a.m., students stormed the hallways looking for their classrooms, schedules in hand.

Rick Haskins, the school’s campus security officer, said the first day of school was turning out “pretty good” by his standards. Haskins stood in the hallways, encouraging kids along to their classrooms and scolding others for having headphones in their ears.

“I need a new pair,” he joked with a student with white earbuds wedged in his ears.

Haskins also served as the go-to guy for new students who were lost. Despite a hectic morning, Haskins wore a smile on his face as did fellow staff members.

“It seems the students are energetic in getting to class,” he said.

Haskins said the joy of watching students and staff come together again is one of the best aspects of the first day back.

“Watching the kids engage, seeing them meet up with new friends. I think that’s exciting for me,” he said. “It’s also good to see the teachers, too, taking charge of the classroom, ya know? Taking pride in their classroom.”

Although he was ecstatic about the new year, Daulton Crabtree, 15, was concerned about finding his classrooms. Crabtree said adjusting to a bigger campus was one of the things he noticed first as a new sophomore. He came from Central Kitsap Junior High.

“It’s a big school. I was just worried about finding all my classes. It’s a lot older. Kids are older. It seems more fun,” he said of being in high school.

Although he’s excited about being a high school student, the fact that he could reunite with his friends is what thrilled him the most about the first day of the 2013-2014 school year.

“Probably seeing all my friends and all the different classes,” he said of his favorite part of the day. He summed up his enthusiasm in one word: “Excited.”

Many students laughed and smiled together in the hallways of the high school, but some seasoned seniors are aware that it’s their year to buckle down and be serious as well.

Camdon Hatch, a 17-year-old senior, said his schedule is “pretty crowded” this year with five AP courses.

“I think the biggest thing I’m looking forward to is the completion…getting the future,” he said of his final year. “It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also nerve wracking beyond belief.”

Hatch knows he needs to buckle down in order to achieve his goals, which include either a  mission trip or acceptance to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He knows the first day of school is a little more relaxed than the rest of the year, and he has every intention to enjoy it before the chaos of senior year sets in.

“It’s really laid back,” he said. “All the AP classes, most of it is subject review. Basically, ‘brace yourselves because you’re gonna get your butt kicked,’” he remarked. “I like knowing what I’m going to be dealing with all year.”

The district made several changes for the upcoming year, such as new teacher evaluations and a brand-new superintendent, but the “academic focus is the same,” Coons emphasized.

He said he’s also looking forward to reconnecting with students and staff after a summer-long hiatus from learning.

“My favorite part is that renewal,” he said. "Every year is a different year.”



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