New school year, new faces
Maple Hill School welcomes influx of new students
NAUGATUCK — Hunter Lishnoff just started kindergarten on Wednesday, but according to his dad he already has his college and career picked out.
“I took him to a Johns Hopkins lacrosse game,” said Andrew Lishnoff, “and since then, he wants to go to Johns Hopkins and be a doctor.”
Hunter was one of several students who kicked off the school year at Maple Hill Elementary on Wednesday morning. They were greeted with warm, sunny weather and a festive atmosphere that included a red carpet entranceway, throngs of applauding parents and staff members, and the Survivor song “Eye of the Tiger.”
“It looks like it’s going to be a happy year,” said Elizabeth Velez, whose son Derian Garay is going into second grade.
There were a lot of new faces outside of the school Wednesday morning.
According to Maple Hill Principal Cheryl Kane, her school is taking on more than 150 additional students this year due to the conversion of Central Avenue Elementary into a preschool. The bulk of its former students are now attending Maple Hill.
Teachers appeared ready and excited to begin working with the added students from Central Avenue.
“The more the merrier,” said second grade teacher Donna Wamser. “We already welcomed them in June, and now they’re part of the building. I think they’re ready.”
Lishnoff was not as happy with the change. He was concerned about the increased number of students leading to overcrowding and large class sizes.
“[I] just think it’s hard,” he said. “Schools are overcrowded enough.”
Former Central Avenue student Christopher Ferguson said he was excited to start second grade and make new friends at Maple Hill. His mother, Lisa Antrum, agreed, although she was upset that Central Avenue had closed down.
“I was very disappointed,” she said. “Both of my older kids went there. All the teachers he had, they were phenomenal.”
However, Antrum was pleased with the way Maple Hill has handled its influx of new students.
“They’ve made it a really smooth transition,” she said, “so I think it’ll be a good change.”
Kane said that Maple Hill had added new staff and invited the former Central Avenue students to school before the official first day to help make their switch an easy one. She was happy with the way the day started and believed it was a good indication of how the rest of the year would go.
“Great staff, great students, great year,” she said.