Students in Maxwell and Colusa went back to school last week.
Kindergarteners – either excitedly or bashfully – entered unfamiliar territory, as did those entering middle school and high school for the very first time.
On the first day at Maxwell High School, a banner with the words “Welcome Back Panther Pack” greeted students, while Burchfield Primary School students were greeted by a seemingly giant RedHawk mascot.
To 17-year-old Lupe Sanchez, the first day as a senior at Maxwell High was no big deal.
“I don’t really feel like a senior yet,” Sanchez said. “It’s just a normal school day. But it’s a little sad, I guess, because it’s my last year.”
Like many students in Colusa County schools, Sanchez has grown up with his classmates over the course of many years. He plans to play football while he prepares for college next year at Chico State University.
“I don’t know yet what I’m going to do,” he said. “I’m still just planning.”
Starting school was a little more daunting for incoming freshman.
“I’m very excited,” said Sydnee Wilson, 14.
Wilson said she expects school to be different than at the junior high because high school will provide her more opportunities to study a broader range of subjects, especially more advanced English and math.
But she also anticipates a little more scrutiny from her mother, Maxwell Unified School District business manager Danielle Wilson, whose office is on the high school campus.
“I’m a little more nervous with her being at the scene,” Sydnee joked. “She knew everything I did and everything I said when I was (at the middle school), so I wonder how it will be here. My mom knows everything.”
Loreena Kromis, 14, who has been in Maxwell since the fifth grade, said she was looking forward to the many opportunities at high school to grow as a person. She plans to participate in her first year of FFA, and will show a lamb at the Colusa County Fair.
Both Wilson and Kromis have siblings attending high school at the same time.
The first day of school was also an exciting time for parents.
At Burchfield Primary School on Aug 14, Natalie Ayala, praised the school and staff for the quality education given to her son.
“He is in third grade,” Ayala said. “It’s always a wonderful feeling dropping your child off here because they’re in a very safe place. This is a great school, and great staff, great teachers. I can’t say anything bad about it. It’s great.”
Carmen Altamirano, Burchfield transitional kindergarten teacher, said the first day of school went very well, and that she was looking forward to teaching second language learners.
She also tutors the first grade in the afterschool program.
“The first thing we do when we get to our classroom, they get their homework done,” Altamirano said. “When they’re done with their homework, I usually have a project. We do a lot of art; first graders do a lot of art. Then by 4:30, we’ll give them some time to play. Sometimes we walk out to the park. So it’s fun, kids like it.”
Colusa and Maxwell schools, the last two districts to end their summer breaks, have a number of activities coming up.
Maxwell High School’s Back to School Night is tonight at 5 PM.
Burchfield, which hosted Back to School Night on Tuesday, will have Parent Information Night at 6 PM on Aug. 28 in the cafeteria.
Colusa High School will host Back to School Night at 6 PM on Sept. 4. ■