DEPEW, N.Y. (WIVB) – As Depew High School students got off the buses and headed through the front doors of their school Wednesday morning, they were greeted by loud cheers from the peers, carrying on an important welcome back tradition.
“The first day sets the tone. It sets the tone for the entire year,” said Dr. Jeffrey Rabey, Superintendent for the Depew Union Free School District.
The tone as students started the 2017-2018 school year at Depew High School was one of enthusiasm and excitement, as members of the student leadership team lined the hall to clap, high five, and holler, welcoming every single student into the building.
“Every student here needs to feel that they’re welcomed,” said Depew High School junior Zoe Kaminski. “We’re really, really working hard to create that place where everyone belongs.”
Some of the efforts from the student leadership team focused on ensuring incoming freshmen felt welcomed on their first day. Each freshman had a note put on his or her locker before the start of the school day, some with candy, inviting the student to have a “sweet” year.
Students and staff were excited to get to work. “This is one of my favorite times of the year,” Dr. Rabey said. “I hardly slept last night, just waiting for the students to get here.”
With classes now in session, there are a lot of new things for Depew students to take advantage of this year, from new fitness equipment in every school thanks to a large federal grant, to new programs in the classrooms, to three new state of the art school buses and new Wi-Fi capabilities on ten buses more.
“It’s important so that the kids, when they’re on the bus, can connect to the Wi-Fi and they can do their homework if they have stuff to do,” explained Douglas Baumgarden, the Transportation Supervisor for the district.
That connectivity is critical for the students, especially with the emphasis on technology as the district enters its second full year of one-to-one computing.
“We’re really moving it to another level instructionally,” said Joseph D’Amato, Director of Instructional Technology and Pupil Services for Depew Schools. “We’re asking the teachers to really stretch their instruction and get the kids to do things that have never been done in classrooms before because of technology.”
“This is going to be one of the most exciting [years] yet,” Dr. Rabey added, when asked about his message to families this school year. “We have so many opportunities for their children to grow and be prepared for the 21st century.”
You can learn more about all the Depew Schools have to offer on the district’s website.News 4 was at Depew High School as students arrived for the first day of class Wednesday morning. Watch our full Wake Up coverage in the videos below.
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