Friends exchanged goodbye hugs and teachers waved as buses pulled from the curb as both the Marietta City and Warren Local school districts let out for summer vacation Thursday.
While Phillips Elementary students ran through spray from Marietta Fire Department fire hoses in celebration of their final day, Warren Elementary students capped off the year with games and activities before departing for the summer.
Many students transitioning to a new school next fall are looking forward to the change, while staff deemed the school year a success.
“The year was a productive one, in several ways, from student achievement, to all of them becoming more responsible and a staff that worked really hard,” said Phillips Elementary principal Joe Finley.
Marietta Middle School eighth-grader Jade Deems said she is anxious to transition to the high school next year.
“I’m sad to leave because I have so many fun memories with friends here, but I’m excited to go to the high school,” she said. “While I was here I improved on my behavior a lot, and feel like I learned a lot.”
Fourth-grader Esther Starner, a student at Harmar Elementary, said her class has a big responsibility to take on.
“I’m going to be excited to be in fifth grade but also scared,” she said. “Being on top of the school is scary because it’s like you’re a role model, and all the other kids really look up to you.”
Harmar Elementary ended the day by cheering on the departing fifth grade students, who will go on to the middle school next year.
“It’s going to be a bit scary because it will be a school of all new kids, but I’ll get to be with my cousin at the middle school,” said Harmar fifth-grader Kaitlynn Williams.
Williams said though she is eager to start the next school year, she is happy to have several summer months to spend with her friends.
Marietta Middle School eighth grade teacher Judi Perrin said the incoming middle school students have big shoes to fill.
“The kids these year were so wonderful, and so hardworking,” she said. “This is the group that’s actually sad to leave, and a lot have already asked if they can come back and visit, or help out in the classroom.”
Perrin said the high school will be getting a really good new freshman class, from the way she sees it.
“This class is very loving and considerate, and that’s not what you usually see from teenagers at that age,” she said.
Marietta eighth-grader Devon Ours said the end of the school year is bittersweet.
“I’m going to miss the teachers and staff here, but I am so excited to go to high school and have a bit of extra responsibility,” he said.
But before high school comes, Ours said he had completely different priorities for summer.
“I can’t wait to be able to sleep in,” he said. “There’s also a lot of time for friends.”
Tracey Huck, a third grade teacher at Warren Elementary, said the school year was a big success, even in the face of the new Third Grade Reading Guarantee mandated by the state.
“It started out stressful, but really turned awesome in the end,” she said. “This summer is going to be all about planning for next year with the personalized learning programs we are working on, so fall will be new for everybody. It’s a challenge we’re looking ahead to.”
“This year went by so fast; definitely the fastest year I have had since kindergarten,” said Garrett Biddinger, a third-grader at Warren Elementary. “My teachers were some of the best I have ever had.”
Biddinger is planning to take a trip to Minnesota with his family over the summer, and said it should be a good transition into fourth grade.