Sampson Independent

Our hats are off to Clinton City and Sampson County educators and staff for what appears to have been yet another smooth school opening, one more that can now go down in this county’s history.

Everything seemed to run like a well-oiled machine Monday, with school-age students brought safely to their destinations, in their seats and accounted for by each system’s opening bells. Principals and teachers, alike, helped to make the first day of school an easy one, greeting students with welcoming smiles and escorts to classes if the need arose. Everyone, it seemed, was there to help whether you were at Butler Avenue or Salemburg Elementary, Union Middle or Hargrove, Clement or Midway High.

It was heartwarming to see all our young people so eager to return to school. Even the newbie, kindergartners with wide-eyed wonder, appeared ready to release their parents’ hand and enter the world of knowledge, eager for the new adventure that was just beyond the doors to their schools.

What’s more, within minutes of arriving, instruction seemed to be taking place at every school, with teachers welcoming young people back and immediately turning everyone’s attention to the lessons at hand.

That easy transition can be attributed in large part to open houses held in the days before the official start of school, giving parents and students a chance to get the lay of the land in terms of where things are, what students needed to have and what the expectations would be for the first semester of this new year.

We have long supported open houses for that reason, mad-dash that they sometimes feel like, and we applaud educators for continuing a successful practice that seems to help everyone, most particularly the youngest of our school-age children.

No opening starts without its hiccups, though, and we are certain there were some to be found across Sampson County Monday, but they had to have been minor and limited, given the reports we received on what a tremendously successful day the start to 2018-19 had been.

We hope the entire school year mirrors Monday, with excitement abounding, education at the forefront and safety always a top priority.

Learning is far different from what it was even a decade ago. Electronic tablets have replaced many books and lessons are often found on interactive white boards rather than the traditional chalkboards of the 1990s.

Students, too, have changed in some ways. Many come through the doors of the schools with multiple at-home issues they carry along with their book bags, making engagement and often learning more difficult. Some are hungry; others are neglected; and still others are distracted by a mounting number of issues. Yet they arrive ready to find success, needing perhaps even more than they desire it. For the youngest among them, this week’s start will set the tone to how they view education the remainder of the lives.

That’s why it’s so rewarding to know we have teachers in place at every level ready to help ignite the spark that rests in those young, eager eyes.

This school year, whether in public or private schools across Sampson, we pray for successful, safe school years for our children and for those there to help make their year the best it can be.

We applaud teachers, custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria staffs, teachers, assistants and administrators for being on the mark and ready to go Monday, making what could have been a dizzying day a great one. If Monday’s successful opening is any indication, and we believe it is, then this should be a great school year for everyone.