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In session: Students and staff back in action, Sept. 7

Students in Mrs. Shuler’s second grade class at Blanche Sims were happy to be back, digging into crayon boxes to find their favorite color. See more first day photos in our print edition. Photo by Megan Collier (click for larger version)
September 08, 2010 - Summer ended yesterday for over 7,000 Lake Orion students, as they filtered back into elementary, middle and high schools.

Lake Orion Review Facebook fans, like Terri K. and Peggy B., said they were "shopping, shopping, and oh yes, shopping" to get ready for the school year.

Birgit M. had her hands full with LOHS and middle school registration, gathering school supplies and trying to get kids to bed early so they "didn't have such a rude awakening," Tuesday.

Cindy Z. said she and her family were "trying to drain every last drop out of summer vacation."

At Lake Orion High School, Principal Sophia Lafayette said she and staff spent her first summer here getting the building ready for students' return.

"Our focus with such a big school is to make sure the whole school looks good," said Lafayette who noted there was a push to make sure classrooms were clean. Staff spruced up the front of the school with some paint on pillars and traffic gates, too.

"We wanted to make it a pleasing environment for when students come back," she said.

Staff returned Aug. 31 as the building geared up for the new freshmen class's first day, Sept. 2. Ninth graders flooded into the building bright and early at 7:35 a.m., met staff, found their lockers and toured the building with student mentors.

"The big thing that we were really excited about is freshmen first day. Freshmen having their own day is really great for them," Lafayette said. And on Tuesday, official first day of school for most students, freshmen were able to approach the mentors – identifiable in the same highlighter-yellow T-shirts – with questions.

Lafayette said that, though many staff and students were gone over the summer, the building still hummed with activity.

"It wasn't as quiet as people think with so much going on over the summer, like athletic events, summer classes, the marching band – it was definitely quieter, but students were here," she said.

But have everyone back is definitely exciting, she added.

"There's a buzz back with staff in the building… Kids are excited to be back with their friends. Just the student activity is always exciting – that's the heartbeat of the school... That's what I look forward to: their excitement," said Lafayette, who noted she could already feel "the life of Lake Orion High School returning when" when the football team tackled Oxford.

This year the LOHS principal wants to "focus on positive environment and behaviors, with issues like bullying coming out a lot in the media."

The high school will start the year off with Bridge Builders next week, who will talk to students on diversity acceptance and challenging bullying, said Lafayette.

"This is going to be a theme we'll be carrying throughout the year," she said.

Reporter, Lake Orion Review
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