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First-day jitters

Emotions run gamut on first day of school

August 24, 2013
By Beth Christian Broschart - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

Four-year-old Olivia Gardner, the daughter of Cory and Tisha Gardner, began her lifelong journey of learning in kindergarten class Wednesday at Third Ward Elementary School in Elkins.

Olivia, who will turn 5 Monday, was very brave as she walked hand-in-hand with her mother and father into school for the first time.

"She said she was nervous about the day," Tisha Gardner said. "I would feel better if we could walk her into her classroom, get her settled and take some photos."

Article Photos

Tisha, Cory and Olivia Gardner spend time together Wednesday evening following Olivia’s first day of kindergarten. Olivia showed her parents, and beloved dog Bella, how to do the crab walk, and many other things she learned during her first day in class. Not pictured are Olivia’s fish named Broccoli, Carrots and Spaghetti.

This was not an option, though, and when Olivia let go of her mom's hand, it was a tearful separation for both.

Four-year-old Olivia Gardner, the daughter of Cory and Tisha Gardner, began her lifelong journey of learning in kindergarten class Wednesday at Third Ward Elementary School in Elkins.

Olivia, who will turn 5 Monday, was very brave as she walked hand-in-hand with her mother and father into school for the first time.

"She said she was nervous about the day," Tisha Gardner said. "I would feel better if we could walk her into her classroom, get her settled and take some photos."

This was not an option, though, and when Olivia let go of her mom's hand, it was a tearful separation for both.

"We know Olivia's teacher, Linda Mullenax, and know she will have a great year," Tisha Gardner said. "But we have had the unique opportunity to have all of our meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner - together up to this point."

Olivia's father, Cory, is a chiropractor, and his office is right beside their home, making meal times together an easy option they enjoy as a family. Olivia's mother is a teacher, but she stayed home during her formative years.

Olivia said she picked out her outfit because she really likes the color pink. Most of her female schoolmates also donned the bright, cheery color as the group filed into the school and their classrooms.

Third Ward Elementary School Principal Debra Schmidlen stoped Olivia in the hallway to welcome her. Olivia was very friendly to Schmidlen, yet there were signs of discomfort at being away from her parents and in a large, bright school surrounded by so many unfamiliar sights, sounds and people.

One of the first activities in Olivia's classroom was reading. Mullenax gave each student a book called "I Like Colors." This eight-page book was many of the students' first foray into reading. Olivia was delighted to be able to read her first book on her own. But while sitting and reading, she felt a tinge of loneliness and studied the silver and white bracelet on her arm.

"I gave Olivia the bracelet and told her when she misses me through the day, she can look at the bracelet and it will make her feel better," Tisha Gardner said.

During gym, Olivia was delighted to crawl like a bear and walk like a crab.

"I liked dancing and playing along with the words of the music during class," Olivia said as she flung her arms high in the air.

Lunch time brought new challenges for Olivia. Kindergarten students have very small hands, and maneuvering through the lunch line is unfamiliar. Olivia tried to balance a bottle of white milk, a napkin, a knife, a fork, a spoon and a straw - which completely filled her tiny fingers - only to realize she also had to carry a tray with spaghetti and a hot roll.

Olivia said she did not care for the spaghetti - she said she prefers fruits and vegetables.

After lunch, the group headed outside for recess. On the playground, Olivia mostly stood back and watched others play. She did take a trip down the sliding board, but then went back to the edge of the playground to watch again.

"I wanted to climb on the jungle gym, but there were too many people on it," Olivia said. "There are only four swings, so I did not get to swing either - but I may swing tomorrow."

Activities during the day Olivia said she enjoyed were painting and playing with her friend, Max, and her new friend, Brody.

"Everything was fun, except when my mommy and daddy left me there," Olivia said. "I cried, and that was not fun, but I liked the rest of the day - aside from lunch."

Tisha Gardner assured her daughter that she would pack a lunch with lots of fruits and vegetables for Thursday.

"Oh, and I really liked snack time," Olivia said. "We had Monster Inc. crackers and squeeze apple sauce. And I know my lunch number - it's 16232."

Cory and Tisha Gardner agreed letting go of their little girl was hard.

"We have had her all to ourselves for four years, and suddenly she is out most of the day," Tisha Gardner said. "It's hard to adjust to because now on weekdays, we will only get to spend a few hours with her. But we are thrilled she had such a great day and enjoyed sharing all of her accomplishments."

As Olivia begins her educational journey, she will learn many things and attend 180 days of school per year during her middle and high school career, which equals 2,340 days. Throughout this time, she will undoubtedly face both good times and hard times, and she will amass a myriad of knowledge. But for the time being, she will just take her educational journey one day at a time.

 
 

 

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