School year kicks off with 'best start possible'

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Aug. 30, 2013
Lily, a fourth-grader at Buttonball Lane School, applauds during part of the outdoor assembly to mark the first day of school on Aug. 29. Photos by Steve Smith.
Lily, a fourth-grader at Buttonball Lane School, applauds during part of the outdoor assembly to mark the first day of school on Aug. 29. Photos by Steve Smith.

Elementary school students in Glastonbury all began the school year on Aug. 29. Buttonball Lane School was among those marking the day with a short ceremony outside, in front of the school.

To start the assembly, four Webelos Scouts from Pack 241 raised the American flag, and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Several fifth-graders then led the student body in a rendition of “My Country Tis of Thee,” and fourth-grade orchestra members Michael and Olivia performed "Ode to Joy," Buttonball's official school song, on the cellos.

“From a great start, you will get a great ending,” said Principal Kent Hurlburt. “I want you to get off to the best start possible, because that is going to guarantee you a wonderful year and a great ending.”

Hurlburt told the students that at Buttonball, everyone works hard every day to become life-long learners. “We celebrate character, as well as academics,” Hurburt said. “We are all teachers and learners here.”

Students and teachers new to Buttonball were also recognized, as were students and teachers who took part in Buttonball's summer reading program.

Hurlburt also told the students that he wants them to set goals for themselves this year.

“I think, and I believe your teachers do to, that if you set goals for yourself, that is the way that you will accomplish the great things that you'll need to this year,” he said.

“At Buttonball Lane School, we are a family,” said Assistant Principal Karen Brown. “That means we're always respectful to each other, and we treat each other the way we want to be treated.”

The school's (fictional) golden retriever mascot, H.E.R.O. (which stands for "Here, everyone respects others") will be providing a new type of motivation this year. Teachers Dayna Blanchette and David Sheppard explained that students can build a dog house for H.E.R.O. by earning bricks for being good citizens. Those bricks will build a dog house on the school's “reward board,” and a completed dog house will earn special assemblies, known as “respect rallies.”

As an example, Sophia, a kindergartner, was singled out for having befriended an anxious classmate on the first morning of school. “She did a really nice job being a good friend at our school,” Brown said.

Hurlburt said the school will also be announcing students' birthdays in the morning announcements this year, and added that closing the announcements will be some words of wisdom.

“The beginning of the school year is exciting, don't you think?,” he said. “It's a chance to start with new friends, new goals and better grades.”

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