Fourth-grader C.J. Lamb makes his way through a gauntlet of teachers and staff wielding bubble wands as he heads to his bus at dismissal on the last day of school at Hampstead Elementary School on Friday, June 15, 2018.
Fourth-grader C.J. Lamb makes his way through a gauntlet of teachers and staff wielding bubble wands as he heads to his bus at dismissal on the last day of school at Hampstead Elementary School on Friday, June 15, 2018. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

The excitement in the Hampstead Elementary School cafeteria was palpable Friday as the fourth-grade students ate their last lunch before turning out into the hot and sunny first afternoon of summer vacation.

With just a half-hour to go, Gianna Mollar was already thinking about what she was going to do with her summer vacation.

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“Everything!” she shouted.

“Eating a bunch of watermelon, too,” added her friend, Rachel Myers.

It was an understandable sentiment.

“It is the last day of school and we are so excited for the summer and can’t wait for students to enjoy themselves,” said Principal Arlene Moore.

“This is our last day of school so it’s bittersweet because we’re going to miss seeing all the kids and staff,” added secretary Debbie Wunder. “They are excited that this starts their summer vacation, and we’re excited for them and can’t wait to get them back the day after Labor Day, Sept. 4.”

Not that returning to school, or stepping up to the fifth grade, was on many minds in the cafeteria Friday afternoon.

“My mom said to me this morning, ‘You’re going to be a fifth-grader soon,’ and I said, ‘No I’m not. I’m going to stay a fourth-grader,’ ” said Dany Ricker.

And Dany’s plans in the meantime?

“I’m going to California,” she said. “I’m going to see Alcatraz and some San Francisco stuff.”

“I am going to South Carolina to visit my uncle and my grandparents,” added Ashlyn Pritchett.

Deja Wilson, meanwhile, plans on setting up her trampoline in her pool, and her friend Andrew Sarabia plans on playing “Fortnite.”

Though it’s not just the students that will be taking some time off.

“Some people think we live here, but we do have some time off to just relax and rejuvenate,” Moore said. “Because everyone deserves a break, even administrators.”

Moore’s plans for the summer? Taking her family out on the water in a big way.

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Last day brings excitement for some, worries for others at West Middle School

Friday, June 15, marked the last day for Carroll County Public Schools students, and all schools dismissed early Friday.

“We are going on a family cruise, so this will be the first one for my kids and for my entire family,” she said. “We’re cruising from Baltimore to some of the Caribbean islands. I’m looking forward to that.”

“We will be doing some more local things,” said Assistant Principal Lauren Wilder. “Just kind of day trips here and there going to Ocean City for a few days. We stay busy.”

In fact, despite the time off, school staff will have summer meetings, since although the students are not ready to dwell on it, the new school year comes soon enough, according to Moore. And really, she said, by the time September rolls around, she expects those new fifth-graders will be ready to return.

“They do want to see their friends, and they genuinely love being here at school,” Moore said. “I think it’s a good environment for them, they love their teachers, they love learning — and I think their parents are ready for them to come back by then.”

But that’s September. For the last minutes of this 15th day of June, the focus was all on celebrating the end of a school year, and the beginning of summer.

The teachers and administrators all lined up along each side the sidewalk leading from the front doors, and blowing a tunnel of sudsy bubbles to usher the excited children to their buses, as Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” played from a speaker.

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