Westlake welcomes students, community back to school after summer break

City of 32,000 welcomes 3,200 students back
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 12:41 PM EDT
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WESTLAKE, Ohio (WOIO) - Teachers were clapping as students walked through the doors of Westlake schools and into the classroom.

Lee Bureson Middle School principal Tom Flaska says it’s one of the students’ best three days of the year.

“Their favorite holiday, their birthday, and the first day of school,” Flaska said. “‘I’m going to see kids, my friends I haven’t seen all summer, I’m going to get new teachers, what’s the new year going to bring?’”

At Westlake Elementary School, down Dover Center Road on Center Ridge Road, it was a time for a parent’s kiss and teacher’s touch

“We’ve got a lot of gaps to fill, but we’re hitting the ground running,” said teacher Shellie Gedeon.

“Seeing the students’ smiling faces coming in this year, such a great change from the past two years coming in with our mask mandates,” echoed another Westlake Elementary School teacher, Katelyn Chajon.

Principal Greg Plantner even directed traffic as parents navigated the drop off, steering students in the right direction.

“Elementary school is a place where we should have a ton of fun,” said Plantner. “We have a theme this year which is to ‘Reunite, Revive, and Thrive’ and that’s what we’re going to do with our students and our parents every single day.”

Westlake Superintendent Dr. Scott Goggin says the first day of school touches the entire community.

“Whether you’re a younger person coming to school or a person starting a family or a senior, the city of Westlake has something for you,” said Dr. Goggin.

Kip Primrose graduated from Westlake and now teachers in the district.

“The only difference now, you’re not sitting down in class, but you’re up front of the kids,” said Primrose. “Really, not a whole lot of different. You’re still nervous but you’re still very excited.”

But it’s his seventh-grade daughter who learned a lesson about family on day one.

“Really excited, having my dad as a teacher, new school,” said Nora.

The Westlake community actually started the school year Friday with the Demon’s 21-7 loss to North Royalton. The team plays Rhodes this Friday

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