Romona school year starts with sea of parents, kids

There’s something about first day of school that some people might not think about; but parents do, especially if their youngsters are under the age of 10.

If you’re standing at the front door of an elementary school when the opening bell rings, you will quickly be engulfed by a human sea; and most of that sea will be adult – careful, anxious, backpack-checking, hand-holding moms and dads. Such was the case Aug. 28 at Romona Elementary School in west Wilmette.

Romona, one of School District 39’s four elementary schools welcomed more than 460 students to the new school year, Principal Heather Glowacki said. Just before the doors opened, Glowacki said those numbers, which could jump to almost 480 before the dust settles, were an increase over the previous year.

District Superintendent Raymond Lechner, who was on hand to say hello to students and parents, said district-wide enrollment figures have stayed roughly even with last year. As of Aug. 21, 3,609 students had completed enrollment, and the number was expected to rise to 3,647. At the end of August last year, 3,657 students had completed enrollment.

“We’ve been projecting an enrollment decline for a number of years, but every year we seem to have a cluster of last minute move-ins [of families new to Wilmette], and we’ve ended up staying pretty steady,” Lechner said.

Enrollment demographics were probably far from Romona parents’ minds as they shepherded their first through fourth grade sons and daughters to class. They certainly weren’t part of Reid Singer’s worldview.

As a third-grader, Reid was a veteran, and he easily ticked off his favorite class: recess. And sometimes math, he added after some deliberation.

Siblings Ariella and Owen Petersen got an opening day send-off from mom and dad Rebecca and Kyle Petersen. Both parents admitted they were a little excited to see summer vacation end.

While Owen, 5, wasn’t hazarding too many opinions on school, Ariella, 7, wanted folks to know that the best part of school wasn’t a thing; it was people.

“I hope my friends are really nice,” she said. “I like new friends.”

That’s not a bad attitude to take to school, no matter how old you are.

FIRST BELL

WHAT: 2014-15 school year

WHERE: Romona Elementary School

STUDENTS: More than 460

DISTRICT: Wilmette 39

STUDENTS: More than 3,600

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