New Year, New School

Thursday marked the first day of school for many area students, and for some the first at a brand new school.

Second and third graders flood the brand new hallways of Suwannee Elementary School on the first day of school Thursday.

Anita Dixon, a mother of two, said, "Last year, everything was just turmoil. Everybody was lost. This year was pretty good. There was a lot of help."

Sharon Dixon, a second grader, said, "We colored with the crayons and we drew some pictures. We did a book and we went outside and played for a little while. We went out back to see what's back there and it's a beautiful playground."

Bridget Sadler, a mother, said, "I like it so far. It's nice and roomy. It's clean. I think it will be good for the second and third graders to be together. The Primary School will have the Pre-K and I think it's good for them to be with a bigger group."

The school district began building the new elementary school last year to comply with Florida's Class Size Reduction Amendment. Teachers say the transition has been a long journey.

Wanda Chambers, a third grade teacher at Suwannee Elementary, said, "They let us come in early for pre-planning and to start unpacking our boxes and try to put everything in our new rooms. That was quite an experience, but we made it through."

There are 706 students enrolled at Suwannee Elementary, and with a successful first day at the new school in the books, Principal Lila Udell says they're off to a great start.

The old elementary school, which served grades three through five, is now the intermediate school.