Opinion

School year begins

Students who walk through the doors of Fort Mill's Nation Ford High School on Wednesday will be making history. They will be the first to attend the new high school -- the class of 2012.

The opening of a new high school is a big event, not just for teachers and students but also for the entire community. It marks the beginning of a new tradition, a new identity for students who are members of this initial class and those who will join them later.

But, let's face it, the opening day of a new school year is a big event for everyone. Summer vacation, sad to say, is over, and once more it's time to rise early, adapt to the school schedule and get serious about getting an education.

Some parents, no doubt, welcome the advent of a new school year. They have been trying to keep antsy children occupied for the long, hot summer, and now they're ready to turn the responsibility over to teachers for six hours a day.

Other parents will have mixed feelings, especially if they have youngsters attending school for the first time. For them, this will be a red-letter day, an emotional landmark, the first of many firsts that occur on the path from kindergarten to graduation.

Teachers have been in school for a week already, consulting with fellow teachers and readying classrooms for the incoming horde. Some of them also will be novices, running their own classrooms for the first time. Good luck to them all.

Today, one day before the official beginning of the school year, sixth- and ninth-graders in Rock Hill and Clover will be getting a preview of what they will be up against in the days ahead. Sixth-graders, who are moving up to middle school for the first time, and ninth-graders who will move on to high school, attend a transition day today to help them get over the inevitable jitters. They also will get the answers to key questions, such as where are the bathrooms, what should I wear and when is lunch?

The beginning of a new school year also will require some adjustments on the part of drivers. We hope everyone will be cautious, especially during the first few weeks, to help ensure that everyone arrives at school safely.

For children walking to school, that means walking with a friend when possible; obeying all traffic signals and crossing guards; looking both ways before crossing the street and making sure drivers can see you.

Drivers need to slow down in school zones, use extra care in areas where children are walking to school, and never pass a stopped school bus. If parents are driving children to school, they need to ensure everyone is buckled up.

Children riding school buses should be reminded to obey the driver and take special care getting on and off the bus. And tell them not to play in the street while waiting for the bus.

We hope families throughout York, Chester and Lancaster counties make it through the beginning of the school year without much serious wear and tear. Finally, we offer our condolences to parents: If school is starting, homework can't be far off.

IN SUMMARY

Wednesday will be the first day of school for many districts, and drivers need to take care.

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