When the new school year begins on Aug. 3, many elementary school pupils will enter a new school.
Rebecca Vought, a physical education teacher at River Ridge Elementary, unloads boxes of material to be used in her classes at River Ridge Elementary in preparation for the school's first year of operation.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
River Ridge Elementary School, on Mullikin Road, opens next Wednesday, and the excitement concerning the new school continues to build, Principal Sandra Black said.
"(Pupils) seem to be real excited," Black said.
Columbia County's school system topped 20,000 in student enrollment last school year. River Ridge Elementary will relieve overcrowding at Riverside, Greenbrier and Stevens Creek elementary schools.
To better prepare new pupils to River Ridge, counselors held special meetings with incoming pupils during transition days at their old schools.
"The counselors had a video of me and a little biographical sketch," Black said. "The children will hopefully feel a little more at home when they come. They were all excited to know I was a Georgia Bulldog fan."
Nearly identical to Lewiston Elementary School, River Ridge will receive about 525 pupils when classes begin.
Although work began on the $8.3 million, 36-room school last summer, much of it was still unfinished last week. Uncompleted areas of the school include the lunchroom and gymnasium. Black said she expects those areas to be finished before the school's opening.
All of the classrooms are completed as is the media center. Teacher materials, desks, chairs, books and other materials have been delivered.
"If we had the students tomorrow, we would have a place for them to all sit," Black said.
Kelley Rigdon, the new media specialist at River Ridge, began working last week to make sure the school's library will be ready by opening day.
Formerly of Episcopal Day School, Rigdon said she relishes the chance to begin anew at a new school.
"At other schools you have to go in dealing with someone else's way of doing things," she said. "Here, I can start fresh. I do things my way and make an impact that I want to make."
Physical education teacher Rebecca Vought will teach half the day at River Ridge and the other half at Greenbrier Elementary School, where she taught full days last school year.
"I'll already know a lot of the kids when they get here," she said. "I think that will make them a little more comfortable, and me as well."
Black said she has already seen signs for what she expects to be a successful first year for River Ridge.
"One interesting thing I've noticed is that a lot of the fifth- graders, who had the option to stay at their former school, decided to come here anyway," she said. "I think that's a good sign that they're excited about coming."
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