Back to school: Movie-themed greetings, superhero capes greet Middletown students

It was a full-scale opening day Monday for all 6,300 students in Middletown Schools, but those youngsters coming to Rosa Parks Elementary were also greeted by costumed movie characters, a bubble machine and school staffers in superhero capes.

Last week, like some other Butler and Warren county school systems, Middletown conducted a staggered opening with only about half of its students opening the 2022-2023 school year on Thursday and Friday.

But Monday was the first full school day for all the city’s public-school students and the excitement at Rosa Parks was mirrored across the district’s other nine school campuses.

“I really appreciate what they are doing and it really makes the kids feel more comfortable,” said Rosa Parks parent Shayla Bauer as she took in the colorful scene that including life size costumed figures of SpongeBob SquarePants and a Minion from the famous movie series and other cartoon characters playfully interacting with students outside the main entrance.

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“It’s exciting and emotional, but in a good way,” said Bauer as her and other parents hesitatingly, sometimes with teary eyes, waved goodbye to their children entering the school.

But even before they walked through the front door they were greeted by school staffers giving out high fives and smiles, some of them also wearing Middletown Middie purple superhero capes as a machine filled the air with soapy bubbles.

It wasn’t only a one-day show though, said school parents, who also expressed appreciation for pre-opening school day “kindergarten camps” so the district’s younger students could spend time in their school buildings before classes began to make them more comfortable with the experience.

Annette Smith, a grandmother of one of the new students, said the festive atmosphere “was a really neat touch.”

“I really like how much they tend to the children,” said Smith.

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In different ways it was scene repeated for thousands of other area K-12 students Monday as other districts also officially welcomed students to classes for the new school year including those in Hamilton, Ross and Mason schools.

Today Butler County’s largest school system, the 17,200-student Lakota district, will start its own staggered scheduled opening with students whose last names are in the first half of the alphabet coming to classes. And other local districts will open classes during this week and next.

Across Middletown at Miller Ridge Elementary, parent Angelee Holbrook, had just dropped off her boy at the school and said she appreciated the district’s many activities for students during the summer break.

“I definitely loved all the resources over the summer and we did a lot of (school sponsored) sports and he was very happy about that,” said Holbrook.

Elizabeth Beadle, spokeswoman for Middletown Schools, said the first, full day for all students went smoothly and each school’s festive approach was designed to “show the joy in education.”

“So we had a lot of our teachers and principals in superhero capes so kids know this is a place to learn but it’s also a place to have fun.”

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