Aden MacNeil, 5 1/2, gets ready for his first day of school with a hair cut at Ray's Place in Charlottetown. Helping him out is Rhonda MacKay, daughter or owner Ray Martin, in background. MacNeil will be attending kindergarten at L.M. Montgomery school. Guardian photo by Nigel Armstrong
It seems like just yesterday that the hit Alice Cooper song Schools Out For Summer was blaring from the lungs of students as they finished the last day of school for the summer.
On Thursday, many of those same students who were singing that song will be returning to the classroom for the 2013-2014 school year.
But for Aden MacNeil, Sept. 5 will be a whole new experience. MacNeil will step foot in the doors of L.M. Montgomery school and start his 12 years of education.
“I’m excited,” said the five and a half-year-old, “ I can't wait to get to wear a kit bag to school.”
MacNeil has two older siblings already attending the school, Keegan in Grade 3 and Rowan in Grade 5, along with a hand full of first cousins.
His mother, Tanya Mullen, said it makes her a lot more confident knowing he will have someone to look out for him.
“I feel really good about it, the school is a fantastic school in general but it is nice to know that he has got lots of built in friends already before he even gets there.”
During a telephone interview with The Guardian, MacNeil said he couldn’t wait to get into math class.
“Four times four is 16,” he laughed. “Five plus five is 10.”
The preparation for his first day started long before the weekend, said Mullen.
“We’re lucky because we pay a school fee and they provide everything that he will need. For us it was all about clothes, indoors and outdoors shoes, a haircut and all that kind of stuff.”
On the first day, Mullen will be driving MacNeil to school, for her it will be her first time driving all of her children to the same school, but it will also be her last first day of school.
“It’s kind of bittersweet. Aden is my baby, I’m excited because it means they are all in the same school, I’m excited that he is wanting to go because it’s a lot harder if they’re nervous,” she said.
“It’s very cool to have them all in one place, there have been drop off days over the last few years that have been sad but I think this one will be a lot of fun.”
At the opposite end of the spectrum, 16-year-old Ryan Wilkie will be entering his senior year at Charlottetown Rural High School.
“It’s a big year for me, I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. I’m excited to finally get to go to prom and be done with school.”
Wilkie is a graduate of both Glen Stewart Elementary and Stonepark Junior High.
“Going up the ranks has been amazing, aside from the education part I’ve made lifelong friendships with not only students but teachers as well. I didn’t think I’d make it this far,” he laughed.
Wilkie said the adjustment back to school hours is the biggest challenge for him.
“I struggle with trying to get back into the old habits and trying to break summer habits like staying up late and having to wake up before noon.”
His preparation also takes a hit out of his wallet.
“You have to do a lot of shopping, picking out school supplies and new clothes, but hey I guess I do get some nice new clothes out of it.”
As for a further plan into post secondary education, Wilkie is still unsure of his next move.
Teachers return to school for an orientation day today. A Professional Learning Day is scheduled on Wednesday with students returning on Sept. 5 for their first instructional day.
The first official day off from school is on Oct. 20 for a Professional Learning Day.
There are 195 days of school this year, with 181 of those days being instructional days. This year’s Christmas break runs from Dec. 20 until Jan. 2, 2014, and March break starts on March 17 and students return to classes on Mar ch 21.
The last official day of school this year in on June 25.