Kids all over Lake Oswego and at Riverdale are back in class this week

Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Michelle Huntington gives her daughter, Michelle, a big kiss before leaving her on her first day of second grade at Hallinan Elementary. Sixth-graders are braving their locker combinations, kindergarteners are taking their first steps into classrooms and high-school seniors are taking some of their last.

School is back in session, and about 6,800 students are descending on classrooms this week as Lake Oswego School District’s 10 schools open their doors this fall.

Fifth-grader Wiley Kavanaugh stood outside Hallinan Elementary School this morning with his dad, Ari Kavanaugh. Wiley said he was hoping most of his friends would be in his class this year.

“I’m excited to have some free time,” his dad said.

“Dad, you’re taking advantage,” Wiley replied, as Kavanaugh laughed and smiled down at his son.

Elementary students, sixth-graders and ninth-graders returned to school today; everyone else in LOSD will be back in class Wednesday. At the front entrance of Hallinan on both days, Parent Teacher Organization volunteer coordinator LaRae Burk and other helpers will offer homemade baked goods to parents, an annual tradition.Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Sam Coulter gives two thumbs up to his dad on the first day of second grade at Hallinan Elementary.

“When I started here at Hallinan, I was anxious, and I was glad to have the welcome, too,” Burk said.

Today, sixth-graders were walking the halls of their new schools for an orientation sans seventh- and eighth-graders. At Lake Oswego Junior High, sixth-grader Janelle Pranger shared a time-honored worry.

“I still can’t open my locker,” Janelle said. “I tried eight times, and I still couldn’t.”

LOJ Principal Robert Caplinger said the problem is so universal that students practice at their elementary schools and at an open house, and they also have an opportunity to take a sixth-grade intro class.

But all the preparation doesn’t always matter, he said, because “panic sets in.”

That’s why students are offered an orientation this week, Caplinger said. It's a chance to grow accustomed to a different, bigger school — and to spend lots of time whirling around those troublesome locks.Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Katy and Troy Troftgruben walk their daughter, Terra, to school for her first day of kindergarten at Hallinan.

Meanwhile, almost 600 students arrived for the first day of school today in the Riverdale School District, where there was something extra in store for younger students.

At Riverdale Grade School this year, teachers are making a special effort to encourage children to dig into books for pleasure, not just because it’s homework. The goal is “to inspire a love of reading,” Principal Joanna Tobin said.

Local private schools also are gearing up for the new year. Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School started today with 240 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, and Principal Joan Codd was greeting visitors with a smile during registration.

"Every year is exciting, but we have a new vice principal, Denise Gonzalez; a new first-grade teacher, Wendy Mackin; and a new sixth-grade teacher, Joanna Goodwin," Codd said.

D-Day is next week for about 65 students at Park Academy. But the school for children with dyslexia and other language learning differences is celebrating its new building today with a ceremony that included former CNN broadcaster Larry King. (Full story coming later this week)

Yet wherever students attended class, there were jitters and joy aplenty.

“I can’t wait for math,” said Hallinan third-grader Zechariah Pressnell, who is in fourth-grade math this year. His sister, Hallinan fifth-grader Abby Pressnell, said she’d miss sleeping in but also was excited for the new year.

“Everyone’s just ready to be back in school,” said their mother, Linda Pressnell. “Summer was fun, but we’re ready to be back in a routine. We’re all ready to build some brain cells.”

Combination locks

Master Lock offers a video and step-by-step instructions for opening combination locks:

By Jillian Daley
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