New school year in Norwich brings feelings of excitement, butterflies
The Bulletin. John Barry. August 28, 2019.

Norwich - Smiles and words of welcome greeted students returning to Norwich’s two middle schools on the first day of the new school year Wednesday.

At Kelly STEAM Magnet Middle School, as the doors opened at 7:50 a.m., blue and khaki-uniformed students arrived by school buses from across the city or were ferried by parents.

“I’m really excited,” said fine arts teacher Jessica Monahan, who was greeting students as they entered the front door. “We have all new students. I can’t wait to get them into the classroom.”

“It’s exciting,” sixth-grader Ellie Bea said, adding, “New schools make me nervous.”

“She wants to get acclimated to her new routine,” said her father, Marvin Bea, who accompanied Ellie.

“Every year that butterfly feeling,” Superintendent of Schools Kristen Stringfellow said, as she too welcomed arriving students at Kelly. “I get butterflies for them.”

Wednesday was Stringfellow’s first day of school in Norwich as well. The superintendent began work July 1, replacing Abby Dolliver.

Kelly Principal Sheri Tanner is starting her second year leading the school.

“It’s been a very busy summer. We’re ready,” Tanner said. “It’s going to be a fabulous year.”

As a magnet school, Kelly has students enrolled from across Norwich. Its STEAM program - which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math - concentrates on those fields.

“We have even more offerings,” Tanner said, including classes in music composing and digital photography that build on existing music and photography courses. “We’re taking it to the next level.”

Kelly is adding a choral program this year to go along with its existing band program that has more than 200 students, Tanner said.

“I am super excited,” band teacher Alison Beit said. “This is year five of our band program being back.”

Kelly and Teachers’ Memorial Global Studies Magnet Middle School house students in grades 6-8. They began Wednesday, while the city’s elementary schools open Thursday and preschools start on Friday.

Eighth-grader Savanah Hammon said she felt “iffy” about returning to school. “Most of my friends are going to Teachers’” she said. Savannah, who attended Kelly last year as well, went to Teachers’ as a sixth-grader, she said. She said she is most looking forward to her science and social studies classes this year.

Parent Ashley Morrill accompanied her daughter, Emma Morrill, who is starting sixth grade after going to Moriarty Elementary School last year.

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