Saratoga County

Summer starts — school’s out

Shouldering backpacks emptied of homework, carrying leftover art projects and unopened final report
Elementary school students in the Shenendehowa district wave to their teachers as they leave after the last day of classes Wednesday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Elementary school students in the Shenendehowa district wave to their teachers as they leave after the last day of classes Wednesday.

Shouldering backpacks emptied of homework, carrying leftover art projects and unopened final report cards, elementary students shrieked their way out the main school doors Wednesday, rushing to buses to carry them home for the summer.

A few children chanted the words “free at last,” or hummed the tune to “School’s Out,” but for many, parting was sweet sorrow.

“I’ll miss my friends,” said Ally Slish, a fourth-grader at Orenda Elementary School in the Shenendehowa school district. “But I’m going to Maine, so I won’t be bored. I guess this is my favorite day of the year.”

Aiden McGuire, a fourth-grader at Karigon Elementary School, was decidedly red-faced and sweating as he met his mom, Kim McGuire, in his school lobby for a ride home.

“We didn’t do any work today,” Aiden admitted. “We mostly did recess and ran around.”

While Aiden said his summer plans include a lot of video game playing, his mother said they’re looking forward to a trip to New York City to visit relatives.

Kristine Marra also picked up her children, Colin and Taryn, who are twin third-graders at Karigon.

Taryn was carrying heavily frosted cupcakes, a chocolate bar with “Sweet Success” on the wrapper and her summer reading book, “The Mouse and the Motorcycle.”

“I’m really excited today; mostly I want to see if I beat my brother on his report card,” Taryn said.

The Marra family is going on vacation to Washington, D.C., to see the White House this summer.

“It’s great to get my kids home again,” parent Kristine Marra said. “I miss them during the school year.”

Standing outside his office, wearing a hamburger-shaped cloth hat with his business suit, Principal Gregory Wing at Karigon gave high-fives to students as they crowded the hallways.

“This was a really good year,” Wing said. “More kids these days enjoy going to school to be with their friends.”

Standing in the parking lot next to the idling buses, district drivers hailed the last of 180 days of delivering children to and from school, logging about 60 miles a day.

“This summer, I’ll be calling cabs,” Al O’Rourke of Waterford said. “I’ll be heading up to camp on Sacandaga Lake away from all the noisy kids.”

Bus driver Nancy Hartley said her pint-sized passengers make a larger ruckus as the school year winds down.

“When you come to the end of the year, it’s like every day is Friday,” Hartley said.

Hartley said she’ll still be doing lots of driving this summer, with different passengers.

“You become a different kind of chauffeur now, driving your own kids around,” Hartley said.

Lining up shoulder to shoulder on the sidewalks to wave goodbye to children leaning out bus windows, many teachers lingered to discuss their summer plans, including straightening classrooms and working on next year’s curriculum.

“I was here all summer last year,” Connie Meyer, who teaches third grade at Skano, said. “Most of it we do out of the kindness of our hearts. We’re not paid extra for this time.”

First-grade teacher Joelle DeMarco will be teaching at Tesago’s summer program starting in mid-July.

“It’s a more relaxed learning environment,” DeMarco said. “This summer’s theme is Olympics.”

By 11:40 a.m., the lots outside the elementary schools were quiet except for the distant sounds of retreating school buses, and the only movement was the flutter of soccer nets in the empty fields.

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