Summer is officially over for students across Baldwin County as thousands headed back to school Wednesday, August 14, 2019.
The Baldwin County School System is the largest employer in the county and it’s easy to see why with 31,000 students returned to their classrooms this morning.
Fairhope High School is the largest in the county with more than 1,700 students and it was a busy morning for teachers, directing traffic and welcoming them to school. Students there were greeted by a new wing, new technology and new classes.
“We’ve got some new technology coming in. We’ve got some new classes coming in,” said Fairhope High School principal, Jon Cardwell. “We’ve actually got an education career tech program and I actually have a pre-K class of four-year-olds on campus where they’ll be doing pre-K and my high school kids will be in there, learning education skills to maybe encourage kids to be teachers in the future. That’s what we’re hoping.”
School officials said their teachers have been hard at work getting ready for the start of school.
“Many of the teachers that I know have been working all summer, particularly over the last couple of weeks getting everything perfect, everything in their classroom perfect and so they’re excited to finally have students coming into those classrooms today,” said Baldwin County Board of Education president, Cecil Christenberry.
On the other side of town, St. Michael’s Catholic High School also began classes Wednesday. The day started with an assembly, after which students picked up their schedules and headed to class. Now in its fourth year, the Cardinals have their highest enrollment ever.
“It’s great to see our new students. We have 97 new students this year. We’ve gone from 290 to 323 from last year to this year,” said St. Michael’s principal, Faustin Weber.
As for the students heading back to class today, their emotions were mixed.
“It’s kind of new considering there’s lots of new kids coming in and it’s almost same old, same old,” said Fairhope sophomore, Ciara Armstrong.
“It went too fast…way too fast for me,” sophomore, Daniel Hollan said of summer break. “It felt like it was for two months even though it was however long it was. It was one of the shortest ones I’ve ever had so far.”
Safety is always a big concern as school starts back up. Officials want to remind drivers to be careful around buses and school zones. Sixteen thousand students will take 290 buses to school and back each day.