The Ashland Beacon
The first day at any school can be chaotic while students try to find their new classroom, try to remember their number for the cafeteria, and just the general nervousness of having to get back in the swing of being on a schedule again. At Oakview Elementary, the staff takes that chaos to a whole new level with the first morning of school each year by having a theme day that all of the staff participate in. It’s not often that students can walk up to their school and find their principal wearing five inch sparkly heels and a purple wig but Oakview is not like other schools. Music teacher Braun Ream, who was decked out in a purple and gold suit, says that no one at Oakview is “a low-key kind of person” and that even though there are always first day jitters, “who’s nervous when you come into this kind of nonsense?”
Each year, the staff chooses a theme and then they all dress up in costumes to suit the theme on the first day of school. This year’s theme was “Red Carpet” and the staff celebrated the house system at Oakview by dressing in the colors of the different houses. The house system was introduced at Oakview last year and is reminiscent of the house sorting in the Harry Potter books. Students stay in the same house for the entire time that they are at Oakview. Fifth grade teacher Cheryl Barber, who is new to Oakview this year, said that the teachers really “went big and went glam” with the house colors. There were teachers in crazy colored wigs, teachers in faux fur vests, and teachers with jewels on their faces along with all kinds of other crazy costumes. Ream says that there is always a friendly competition of everyone trying to outdo each other and “this is the kind of craziness that happens.”
Students walked into the school on red “carpets” made out of felt that went from the sidewalk into the gym and into the front office. There were signs pointing to the “VIP” entrances at both doors so new and returning students could go into either door. There was a huge Oakview Comets banner for parents to take pictures of the students on their first day of school.
STEM teacher Emily Stephens says that the “kids love the theme day on the first day of school and they look forward to it every year.” She says that it “doesn’t even matter what the theme is, they always get excited to see how we’re going to dress.” Braun Ream said that they had seen several students who had moved on into middle school go through the loop in front of Oakview that morning to see what was going on and what the teachers would be dressed up as this year.
This year, returning students already knew what houses they were in and they know what colors they are. The students were invited to wear their house colors on the first day of school too. Later that afternoon, there was a “sorting ceremony” to welcome all of the new students and all of the kindergartners into their houses. As part of the “Red Carpet” theme, each student was given a small statue of an Oscar with their name on it.