Story and photos by Larry Vogel/For Lynnwood Today
It was “super” first day of school in the Edmonds School District’s Cedar Valley Elementary.
Things got underway well in advance of the 8:40 start time, as students began filtering in to get classroom assignments and breakfast (80 percent of Cedar Valley student are in the free reduced lunch program) before assembling in the gym to await the opening bell.
When the bell finally rang, students, many accompanied by parents, began tentatively wandering the halls looking for the classroom that would be their home away from home for the next nine months.
Teacher Taira Rink’s third grade class had a special treat in store.
They arrived to find her waiting at the door decked out in snow leopard ears (the snow leopard is Cedar Valley’s mascot) and a super hero cape. She enthusiastically greeted each student as they walked through the door with a promise that they’re all heroes and that they’d all have a super year.
At their seats each student found a pencil adorned with a mini super hero cape, a printed super hero shield, and instructions to color in the shield and design their very own super hero logo.
This is Rink’s first year as a classroom teacher, and her excitement is infectious. “I interrupted my education 21 years ago to start a family and get married,” she said, “but I never gave up my dream to be a teacher. So when my daughter started college I went back to finish my education. My daughter is now 21 and in her senior year. My goal was to graduate before her, and here I am.”
Rink is not the only new educator at Cedar Valley. Principal C.J. Gray just moved back to Edmonds from the Chehalis area. “I actually started out in Edmonds,” she said. “My first teaching job was at College Place School. It’s really great to be back.”
Gray is particularly happy to be at Cedar Valley School. “Cedar Valley is a true community school,” she said. “We have an array of unique programs to help parents connect to community resources and become involved.”
One of these, the Natural Leaders Program, invites people from other cultures to come in and talk to parent groups about schools and education from a cross-cultural perspective. “Cedar Valley School is a very special place,” she added. “I’m pleased and proud to be part of it.”
Back in Taira Rink’s classroom the students gave their parents a final hug. There were lots of smiles and a few tears as parents left the classroom and the students settled down for their first circle time meeting as Rink, still in cape and ears, explained classroom rules and procedures.
It’s gonna be a super year!