- Michael D. Clark Staff Writer
Even before they entered their school’s front door Tuesday morning for the start of the school year, students at Lakota’s Hopewell Junior School got a standing ovation and more.
Hundreds of students were applauded, cheered and high-fived by two rows of top Lakota officials and school administrators on their walk into the main entrance of the West Chester Twp. school.
It’s an unusual ceremony and a popular one at Hopewell designed for the teens to see and hear enthusiastic adults up early — in this case 7 a.m. — standing and cheering in support of education.
Hopewell school parent Patricia Bertel was happily surprised after dropping off her child.
“I think it’s great that they welcome the kids this way,” Bertel said. “It’s very unusual and I’ve never seen it before but I think it’s a great inspiration for the kids and the parents to see that everyone is active at the school.”
It was an active morning through much of Butler County as Southwest Ohio’s largest suburban district — the nearly 16,500-student Lakota Schools — returned to classes as did the 9,000-student Fairfield Schools.
The welcoming event, which included Lakota Superintendent Karen Mantia and school board President Lynda O’Connor, lets “the kids see a group of people who are pulling for them all the way, patting them on the back and saying ‘have a great year,’” said Hopewell Junior School Principal Jeff Rouff.
Lakota board member Ray Murray said, “I think it’s wonderful and a great start for the first day of school and a wonderful way to welcome all the parents and kids back to school.”