Fort Dodge Community School District

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The First Day of School - from The Messenger

August 30, 2018

Duncombe Elementary School fourth-grader Syndal Castaneda Rogers, 9, had a small problem Wednesday morning as she spent the first few minutes of class trying to put all her school supplies away.

The drawer in her desk was too small to hold it all, no matter how carefully she worked to arrange it.

She had other things on her mind, though.

“I’m excited to learn more about school and other things,” she said.

She would have a chance at that later in the day. All of the students attending school on the very first day of class in their very new school were scheduled to get a tour.

Aside from her desk drawer, she was pretty happy with the building.

“I like that there’s more space,” she said. “There’s more things down in the lunchroom.”

She was also hoping for time with her favorite subjects.

“I like to study science and reading,” she said.

Principal Pat Reding spent the morning outside making sure that his students got across the street safely and into the building without a hitch. For most of those arriving, it was a new traffic pattern.

“I know it’s a little further, but would you please walk down to the crosswalk and go across there,”he told a family about to cross mid-block. “Please use the crossing.”

He spent plenty of time with several teachers and staff saying hello to the new arrivals.

“I like to thank the parents for entrusting their youngsters to us,” he said. “We promise we’ll take good care of them.”

The first day in a new building that still has that entirely new building smell was a delight for him.

“It’s so exciting,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of first days and this is as excited as I’ve ever been. It’s fantastic.”

The new building replaces a structure that was found structurally deficient on the same site. Duncombe students have been attending classes in the former Fair Oaks Middle School for several years.

That history isn’t forgotten. A stone engraved with “Duncombe 1912” is built into the entrance. It became the backdrop for dozens of first-day-of-school pictures.

Yadial Sanchez, 5, got a little emotional when it was time to say “see you later” to his mom, Jessica Abrams.

A few tears were shed.

“He’s a little scared today,” she said.

Sofia Blanco, 5, was pretty anxious to get her day in kindergarten started.

Her dad, Danile Blanco, took her to school and her sister, Sara Blanco, 4, came along to watch.

“I’m excited for her,” he said.

She was pretty excited too.

“She always sleeps in,” he said. “Today she was up and ready to go early.”

Erik Larson, 9, was starting his fourth-grade year Wednesday.

He, too, had some things he was looking forward to.

“The math,” he said. “Or maybe getting a tour of the school.”


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