West Middle School students spend last day of school in style.

The sounds of The Doors’ “Break On Through” echoed across the back lot and fields at West Middle School as eighth-grader Dan Byrd belted out the lyrics.

Backed by his fellow middle schoolers in the school’s after-school rock band, Dan, 13, sang a handful of songs, including The Doors’ song that became a hit decades before he was born.


You know the day destroys the night, night divides the day, tried to run, tried to hide, break on through to the other side,” Byrd crooned to the crowd of eighth-graders that formed around the band.

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

This year differed from others because Friday was also the last day for teachers. Typically, teachers go back for one more day once students leave. But this year, because that day would have been a Monday, CCPS made a change and allowed teachers to end on Friday as well.

At West Middle, students had shortened periods and, for the lucky eighth-grade class, the day included a picnic and time outside watching the rock band, playing sports and getting to climb on one of two inflatable obstacle courses.

Dan said he’s had fun at West Middle and loved getting to be a part of the school’s rock band.

Next year, he’ll head to Westminster High School, something he said he’s a little bit nervous about. “It’s scary,” he added.

Fellow eighth-grader Braeden Devnew, 14, played drums in the after-school band. He said leaving West Middle school is “bittersweet” and that he’ll miss the band, but added that he’s excited to go to high school.

Braeden said he’s hoping to be involved in both marching band and concert band once he goes to high school.

Last day of school, and the first day of summer in Hampstead

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.

For seventh-graders Jenna Rodriguez and Meredith Hoppenstein, both 13, the last day of school brings excitement over what eighth grade will bring.

Jenna said she’s excited for the extra opportunities they’ll get next year, though Meredith said with more options also comes more work. Both said they were excited to be at the top of the school, though said they wouldn’t be bullies to the younger kids like some eighth-graders can be.

The’re both excited for summer. For Jenna, summer means sports camps. For Meredith, it means time to volunteer.

The pair said the last day had been fun and low key, mostly filled with playing games, talking and getting to sign yearbooks. Overall, they said, seventh grade was a year of meeting new people and making new friends.

“Last year, our lunch table had only four people, and now it’s seven people,” Meredith said.