Students welcomed back with music, cookies and chalk

SMB Chalk on the Block.jpgStudents at KenorSTA Pep on the Step.jpga Catholic schools St. Louis chalk.JPGwere welcomed back with some exciting displays outside their schools this year. 

At all elementary schools in Kenora, children could add their name or a drawing to a 'Welcome Back' chalk mural. The colourful murals decorated the asphalt in front of the back doors at both Pope John Paul II and École Ste-Marguerite Bourgeoys, while St. Louis's mural welcomed students to the newly renovated yard behind the school. 

At. St. Thomas Aquinas, Grade 7 and 8 Guidance Lead Katie Jackson arranged 'Pep on the Step'. Students were greeted by teachers holding up signs and handing out cookies and lemonade, while music played on the steps. 

"It feels like the scene at the end of a movie, but it's just the beginning of school," said Grade 11 student Alex Albanese-Higgins.

Grade 12 student Chantel Bechard added that it was a great way to welcome everyone back. 

"I was surprised. It's nice because it brightens everyone's day and makes people feel less nervous about going to school on the first day. It made me feel happier and it's nice to see all the teachers and they are happy to see us," she said.  

Each cookie handed out came with a positive message to help encourage students on their first day. Dr. Liz Montero has a daughter starting in Grade 9 and she spoke about 'Pep on the Step'.

"I think it's so welcoming and the most amazing thing the school could have done. To have open arms, live music and dancing, it's just great. I wanted to enroll!" she said. 

Director of Education, Phyllis Eikre, stopped by to help welcome students to TA before heading off to the rest of the schools. She said while the first day can be a bit stressful for some students, having a welcoming message goes a long way towards making students feel more comfortable.

"I think this sends a message of welcome and caring. The Staff at St. Thomas Aquinas are all here on the steps and they're excited to see the students that they haven't seen all summer. It really shows that St. Thomas Aquinas High School is a caring community."