Hudson -- Students traded in summer vacation and summer beach hair for the bells and schedules of academia Aug. 21 as the first day of district classes got underway.
"We had a great opening," Hudson High School Principal Brain Wilch said. "Our 1,655 students seemed excited to be back and our staff was ready to go."
Wilch said the only problem was "an occasional freshman with questions about where E-wing was located."
"Other than that, it was a positive start," Wilch said.
A major difference from last year is the absence of the front hallway which used to connect the A-wing, or math wing, to the main entrance, Wilch said.
"The hallway is gone," Wilch said. "In exchange for the newly constructed security entrance, a sacrifice in convenience was made and the former hallway is now converted to a receptionist office with a buzzer door, the athletic administrator's office, and a conference room."
Wilch said the change is causing a few chuckles in the halls as staffers "stand at the east end of that former hall and watch our upperclassmen come around the corner only to stop in their tracks with a puzzled look . . . like, 'where did the hallway go?'"
"We've joked about commissioning one of our famous senior mural projects as an image showing the illusion of the old hallway," Wilch mused. "We'd probably have to pad the wall."
Wilch said the security entrance, like the one near the auditorium entrance, should "move us significantly forward in maintaining a secure and safe high school."
"We eagerly await the finish of both projects sometime in October," Wilch said.
The 1,150 students at Hudson Middle School had no problems during their first day, according to Principal Kimberly Cockley.
"The middle school was filled with excitement, energy, and relationship-building today," Cockley said. "Students typically spend the morning prior to and during homeroom navigating the classrooms, lockers and hallways and this year was no different."
As with other years, staff members were in each hallway to welcome the students, help them find their way, and make sure they felt comfortable, Cockley said.
"I am so grateful to work at the middle school," Cockley added. "It is a truly special place filled with staff members who care and wonderful students and families."
East Woods Principal Paul Milcetich said the first day of school "was absolutely fantastic."
"We had exactly 660 smiling faces come through our doors and have an exciting first day experience with their friends and new teachers," Milcetich said. "We have continued to enroll students this summer with a total of 38 to date, and the class sizes are a bit over an average of 25. "
The school houses fourth and fifth graders.
"Our staff has been very accommodating and welcoming to all new students, and we have ensured that all students have desks, lockers and materials," Milcetich said.
There was one issue that made part of the day uncomfortable for some students and staffers.
"We are at East Woods with no air conditioning in certain areas, like the fourth-grade second floor wing," Milcetich said. "And of course the weather is hot just as school begins. The temperature in those areas was definitely not optimal for student learning."
That was the only "major problem," according to Milcetich.
"I know everyone always worries about buses and transportation, but overall that was very smooth," Milcetich said. "Certainly, I think we will get to a point where it takes a little less time and we are more efficient, but we had all the students on the right buses heading home. Beyond the warm climate, we could not have asked for a better start to the 2013-2014 year."
The 345 third graders attended McDowell Elementary School on the first day had a "very, very good day," according to Principal Mark Leventhal.
"The busing was wonderful especially at dismissal," Leventhal said. "The busses were on time and in the proper spots so that all of McDowell and East Woods elementary school students were dismissed in a timely manner."
Leventhal said his students were "excited and a had a great first day."
For information of individual schools visit www.hudson.edu.