Published on August 24th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


District Five opens Chapin Middle School, welcomes all students back for the 2015-16 school year

Staff at Seven Oaks Elementary MEDIA Magnet School literally rolled out the red carpet for students returning on the first day of school.

IRMO – Summer vacation is officially over for Lexington-Richland School District Five students who headed back to classrooms for the first day of school on August 19.

District-wide, schools held assemblies, pep rallies and celebrations to recap the success of the previous school year and build excitement about the year ahead. At Chapin Middle School, students walked into a new facility for the first time, many wide-eyed with amazement at the two-story school.

“We are so grateful for this beautiful facility…the new school provides our students and staff with the space they need to maximize instruction and learning,” said Principal Anna Miller, who led students in a pep rally on August 19. “Construction crews will continue to put the finishing touches on the space, but classrooms are ready and learning has begun at Chapin Middle School…We are Respectful, Responsible and Remarkable. We believe it will be a great school year.”

The new middle school in Chapin is the final project of a bond referendum voters passed in 2008 to include the construction of Spring Hill High School and the Center for Advanced Technical Studies as well as upgrades at several schools throughout the district. Chapin Middle School now serves seventh and eighth grade students, while the new Chapin Intermediate School serves fifth and sixth graders.

Students and staff alike said they were looking forward to all that the new school provides.

“The building is beautiful and we’re all excited about it and we love it, but I don’t want anybody to forget that it’s what is on the inside the building,” said David Fisher, a math teacher and Teacher of the Year for the school. “It looks great and it’s pretty and that’s good, but we have the best faculty and staff and administration and parents and teachers anywhere and that is what makes this a great place to be.”

Eighth grader Gracie Culley added, “I’m excited about having a lot more space and all the new things here at the school. (Students) had a say in the desks that are in classrooms, and I was happy to see the desk that we chose are here. The cafeteria, the gym…I think it’s all great. I’m just really excited to go to school here.”

The excitement of the new school year was also felt at other District Five schools, where parents and students eagerly entered classrooms, greeted by school and district staff who bid them a good start to the school year.

School leaders at River Springs Elementary held a pep rally to remind students about classroom behavior, conflict resolution and other school procedures. “We are going to learn every day and in lots of ways,” Principal Melanie Cohen told students assembled for a first day of school event.

At Seven Oaks Elementary School, staff literally rolled out the red carpet for students and parents who arrived to the flashing lights of cameras and interviews from student journalists.

“We wanted to welcome our students back in a positive and celebratory way and show them that they each bring their own wonderful talents and personalities to our school. In addition, being a MEDIA Magnet School, the red carpet symbolizes the film industry which is an important form of global communication,” said MEDIA Magnet Site Coordinator Karen Ogen.

“Throughout the year, our students interact with and create digital media or film in their studies,” she said. “Our parents and students were overwhelmingly excited by the red carpet welcome and felt like ‘stars.’ We heard many comments and compliments from both parents and students about how special they felt coming into school with such a festive and fun atmosphere.”

District Five Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hefner said the start of a new school year is always an exciting time for students, staff and families in the district.

“Looking at the great things that we accomplished last year, we’re excited about what the new school year will bring,” Hefner said. “We’re off to a great start with the opening of the new Chapin Middle School site, debuting of our intermediate schools, and top recognitions for our students, staff and district programs already this year. We’re anticipating great things from District Five schools in 2015-16.”


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