Superintendent rides with Deerfield Elementary students on first day of school

With backpacks and lunches in tow, kids filled Bus 755 Wednesday morning for the superintendent's a first-day-of-school bus ride.

Harford County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Tomback, along with Board of Education President Leonard Wheeler and Executive Director of Elementary Education Linda Chamberlin greeted students of Deerfield Elementary in Edgewood as they boarded the bus from their designated stops, waving to parents as they took their seats.

Not as many kids as normal would be riding the bus that morning, the driver noted, since several parents would be dropping their kids off at school themselves.

There also weren't as many buses on the roads — 11 schools remained closed because of power outages and closed or blocked roads.

Tomback mentioned that Fallston Middle and High schools, as well as North Harford Middle and High, were a few that did not open that day due to road closures. It would be too dangerous for a bus to drive down a road that has a down tree, Tomback said, and have the bus attempt to turn around, which could very well be impossible to do.

Willoughby Beach Road in Edgewood was all clear, though, as the bus drove down the tree-lined area into the Harbour Oaks development. Only a handful of kids boarded from the first stop on Ebbtide Drive.

Alexis Price sat behind friend and neighbor Breanne Nyce. Both are entering the first grade.

Neither of the girls was shy about bragging about their Tinkerbell folders, and Alexis showed Breanne her third loose tooth.

"I like everything," Breanne said when asked what her favorite school subject was. "But art's my new most favorite."

Breanne's excitement for her first day as a first-grader was visible as she moved around her seat. "I just like to be excited all the time."

A larger group of children filled the bus at the second stop on the corner of Laburnum Road.

Fourth-grader Bryce Campbell sat quietly in his seat, "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" backpack still slung on his shoulders.

Bryce said like he likes the Cartoon Network show, but doesn't get to see it very often because it comes on after he has to go to bed.

"I'm pretty excited," Bryce said about the first day of school. His favorite subjects are science and math.

Logan Long, who is starting second grade, wasn't afraid to chime in about his fascination with science and chemistry, describing science projects from the previous year.

Logan, who flaunted his Lego-themed shoes, was excited to show off his new cursive handwriting skills that he learned from a friend in West Virginia during the summer.

"It only took me one day," Logan said, pausing before carefully inscribing his name on a sheet of paper.

As the kids exited the bus, some skipping or walking quickly, they were handed cards with their bus number so they wouldn't forget.

Not all of the children were thrilled about leaving their parents and beginning a new school year.

Rosine Castro, of Edgewood, groomed and prepped her new kindergartner, Jessica, by the car before heading into the building. Jessica had tears rolling down her cheeks and tried to stop her bottom lip from quivering.

Castro, however, was confident that her daughter would be just fine, smiling as she dabbed a tissue onto Jessica's flushed face.

Inside Deerfield Elementary, a large banner greeted students: "Welcome to Deerfield Elementary School. We are glad to see you!"

Math coach Jennifer Markoff stood by a board near the entrance, which had groups of colored paper with students' names and classroom numbers tacked to it.

She helped parents find their child's room assignment or showed them to the nearby administrative office, which was already flooded with people.

"The new students are terribly excited," Markoff said, mentioning there were several new students because of the recent school redistricting. Markoff, who has been with the school for almost 10 years, was also excited for the new kids, as well as the new staff.

Last year, before the renovation of Deerfield, the school — and staff — was much smaller. Markoff said many teachers and administrators were offering support to the kids to help them with their transition in this newly constructed school.

Markoff proudly noted that the new look of the school had been getting lots of "wows" from students and parents alike.

It was also De-Von Jarusek's first day of kindergarten.

His grandfather, Edward Newman, said he drove De-Von to school even though the family lives close by because he's still too young for the hike.

De-Von, who wore a Batman shirt, was shy but playful when he shook his head "no" after being asked if he was excited for school.

Newman called his grandson out on it, saying De-Von had woken him up at 6:30 that morning.

Having already met De-Von's teacher at back-to-school night event, Newman said he and his grandson were both "ready for the new school year."

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