New books. Different teachers. Blank slates.
Hundreds of Summit County middle and high school students started a new year as teachers and school district staff welcomed them back Monday, Aug. 18.
For the seniors graduating next spring, Monday was the last first day of school.
And this year, for them, is about those last few feet before the big fork in the road.
Though most have started making college plans or thinking about jobs or traveling, on Monday they looked around at the younger faces and wondered how their high school years went by so fast.
“There’s no words to describe my feelings right now,” said Jordan Bussy, 18, of Montezuma. She felt joy, she added, but she wanted to cry at the same time.
Her friend Keeley Minor, 18, of Summit Cove, said “High school’s been fun, but I’m ready to get out of here.”
In the hallway near the cafeteria, Claire MacMurray said something similar. MacMurray, 17, of Silverthorne, wore waders and a sign that read “Fishing for Freshmen.”
Other seniors tried to help the new kids.
“It’s not really an easy day” for them, said Daniel Lopez, 17, of Dillon, who arrived in Summit County a few years ago from El Salvador not knowing any English.
Lopez, who gave a speech to the school’s staff about his struggles and achievements at a welcoming event Thursday, said his favorite part about returning to school is the warm welcome he receives from teachers.
“They say, ‘Big year for you. Last year here,’” he said.
Mixed with the students’ smiling enthusiasm is a relaxed feeling, as the hard work hasn’t yet begun.
“It’s just a calm day,” said Doni Khasanov, 17, of Dillon, who was plans to study accounting in college.
One senior said he wants to finish high school strong by staying on top of his academics and joining clubs. Kevin Dorantes, 17, of Breckenridge, said he’s looking forward to his guitar, piano and weight training classes as well as his psychology and writing courses at Colorado Mountain College.
Another dual-enrollment student, Haley Woodford, 17, of Georgetown, said she wants to finish high school with a year’s worth of college credits, while Angie Ramos said facing the cost of books and course fees this semester made her realize that she’ll be paying for her education from now on.
Ramos, a rugby player, said it was weird to not see teammates who graduated last year in the halls.
“I still feel like a freshman,” she said.