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Students, staff excited on first day of classes

The sound of student voices could be heard throughout Red Hook Central School District as they returned to classes for the first day of the 2023-24 school year today. 

Over 1,600 students entered their respectful schools and were greeted by faculty, staff and administrators who spent the summer preparing facilities and programs for the students’ return. 


At Mill Road, some students excitedly waved to teachers and staff gathered outside while others joked around with their friends. A few tears were shed but those quickly faded as Mill Road Primary School staff welcomed them with smiles and friendly greetings. 

Ryan Sherwood, the physical education teacher, said he was happy to see students again. “It’s good to see friendly faces – they're excited,” he said. 

Among the things students will learn in P.E. are gymnastics and team building. “They will learn how to move their bodies in all sorts of ways and meet and play with new friends,” he said. 


Mill Road Intermediate School third grade teacher Connie Burud took a unique approach to introducing students to each other on the first day. She created a word search puzzle with all of their names hidden inside and displayed it on the large screen in front of the class. One by one the students went up to the desk, found their name and highlighted it. Then, they gathered for a reading of, “Mrs. Nelson is Missing,” a book about a class of students, their teacher and a substitute teacher. 


At Linden Avenue Middle School, some eighth graders were excited to begin their last year at the school. 

“It isn’t as scary as last year and the year before,” Scarlett Peacock said. “It’s nice being an eighth grader and being the oldest at the school.” Peacock is looking forward to algebra class because she can earn credits toward high school. 

Meanwhile, seventh grader Max Lloyd had a slightly different take on the start of school. “I wasn’t really looking forward to it, but it’s pretty fun,” he said from atop the new playground equipment. Asked what changed his mind, he said simply, “I had a positive attitude.” 

Classmate Ella Hutchinson said she is adjusting to having many more teachers. “I have the biggest binder Staples sold,” she said. Hutchinson said social studies is her favorite subject and she gets to end the day with it. 


Students moved from class to class in an orderly fashion at Red Hook High School. 

“It was an outstanding first day back,” Principal Kyle Roddey said. “On behalf of the entire staff we are so delighted to see the students back in our buildings and our halls alive.” 

It is a moment that was somewhat strange for senior Edmund Wilson. 

“This is unbelievable, because I didn’t have a freshman year,” he said when asked what it felt like to start his last year of high school. The pandemic took over Wilson’s first year of high school. 

But, that didn’t stop him. He persevered and plans to enjoy the senior privileges and traditions before heading to college. 

“I plan to major in economics and swim for college,” he said, adding that he is looking at SUNY Geneseo among other schools.