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Shawmont Elementary School Says Hello to New Students

Home and school, staff welcome students in back-to-school tea.

"My names is Michael, and I'm going to start the third grade."

New students braved the microphone last week and introduced themselves to soon-to-be classmates, teachers and friends at the annual Home and School Association breakfast and tea.

Parents and Principal Michael Graff welcomed students starting their first year at the Roxborough primary school with a orientation breakfast. Kids could get a feel for the new environment, and parents peppered staff with questions on uniforms, lunch, and transportation as school gets under way with a half-day Friday.

Janet McHale, Shawmont HSA president, remembered her first tea in 2009 when her son entered the school.

"I think it's important for new families, transfer students to get comfortable. It makes the first day of school less nerve-wracking," she said.

The 2011-12 school year was one upheaval for Roxborough students. McHale said Shawmont prepares to welcome 17 students from the in addition to others who left the archdiocese after Holy Child Catholic School closed. The ceremony usually sees kindergartend and first grade students, but this year also welcomed some older kids.

Graff led the breakfast and coerced all the new students into saying hello, which was followed by a big applause.

"I'm so proud of all you boys and girls. Thank you. We need you all to believe in yourselves and remember that Shawmont is your school," he said. 

Shawmont performed well on standardized tests, making AYP again last year. Graff emphasized to parents and students that the school pushes its students.

"The expectations are at grade level or better. It's our job to work with you if that isn't being met. It's a rigorous practice here, but we're here to help you get there," he said.

Located on Shawmont Avenue, the school lies near a that should be completed by school's beginning. Transportation, however, always exists as a big issue that needs to be straightened out each year. Shawmont staff will try to sort issues out Friday.

"By 9 or 10 o'clock, the first day of school, we usually have all the transportation problems sorted out," Graff said. 

In addition, Graff will make himself available the first few days of school in the auditorium for questions. He usually begins the day in the school yard, as well.

The Sept. 7 school opening is for first through eighth grade students. The first day only runs until 12:09 p.m.

Visit the school's website for more information.

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