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Sunday, March 25 News

A bright beginning: Fairfield schools open for new year

Sherman School Principal Eileen Roxbee stood outside her school Thursday morning, giving hugs to returning students and welcoming new ones under bright, sunny skies.

"So far, so good," Roxbee said as the 2014-15 school year got underway at all of the town's 17 public schools.

Thursday was the first full day of classes for all Fairfield students. Sixth-graders and high school freshmen had orientation sessions Wednesday.

The school district's enrollment for the new academic year is projected at a total of 10,251 students, with about 950 teachers and certified support personnel.

Back by Sherman School's bicycle racks -- bikes are a favored mode of transportation with students at the Fern Street school -- Rylee and Braden Joyce compared the contents of their backpacks with friends Grace and George O'Neill.

Third-grader Braden showed off his notebooks -- single subject, wide ruled -- and the variety of colored folders he had.

"Look at how early we are," laughed his mother, Marla Joyce. The Joyces rode their bikes to school, something Marla Joyce said they plan to do every day. "It's such a great school for riding bikes to," she said.

There were no tears for Rylee and Braden's mom. "I'm super happy and excited," she said. "It's a beautiful day and they were very excited last night."

Roxbee said educators are lucky: "We get to have two happy new years, which is a fun thing."

She said there are a lot of new faces at Sherman School this year, and said that might have something to do with Superstorm Sandy. Just a block away from the school and throughout the shoreline neighborhood, many homes are still being repaired or rebuilt in the aftermath of damage wreaked by the October 2012 storm. Many older residents simply moved away after the storm, and new families are moving in.

"We're looking forward to, hopefully, no hurricanes and no blizzards," Roxbee said.

After the principal greeted students who walked or biked to the school, Roxbee headed off to welcome those arriving by bus. Meanwhile, parents took pictures and videos of their kids with classmates, teachers and the Sherman School sign.

Six-year-old Max Lien, starting first grade this year, was concentrating on getting his bicycle into one of the few empty racks at the school.

He doesn't always ride his bike to school, though, observing that he also likes to ride his scooter. He said he's excited about the new school year. Asked what he looks forward to most, Max shrugged his shoulders and said, "Probably recess and gym."