Johnston County Public Schools (JCPS) kicked off the 2023-24 school year on Monday, August 28, welcoming tens of thousands of students back to all 48 schools. Although rain showers were moving through Johnston County, the excitement could not be dampened.
Families lined up early in anticipation of what the new school year would bring. Students had their new backpacks filled with supplies, and parents snapped those first day of school pictures.
Fourth-grade West Clayton Elementary student Jounas Acosta Martinez was one of the children raring to get the day underway. “I am very excited to see my friends!” Martinez said. “I’m excited for math, too.”
Faculty and staff were eager to welcome children back to school for another amazing year. Selma Middle principal Stephen Baker could barely contain his enthusiasm. “It’s like a marathon, and we are ready to go!” he exclaimed. “It feels like when you’re at the starting gate and you’re just waiting for that ‘BAM!’ to get running.”
A lot of hard work took place over the summer, and every member of the JCPS team was bursting at the seams to share it all with the children. Some of that work included cleaning each school from top to bottom, working on construction projects, as well as administrators and faculty attending the annual leadership conference to plan for the 2023-24 school year.
For South Johnston High senior Gracie Barbour, Monday came with mixed emotions. It was her last first day of school as a Trojan. “It is a very bittersweet moment,” she said, “but I am so excited for this year to come, and all of the academics I can get into.”
Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy brought his positive energy while he was out and about visiting schools on Monday. “The first day of school is a special time of the year,” he said. “It’s always good to see our students and parents back in the buildings. We’re going to have our best year yet!”
West Clayton Elementary students enthusiastically wave goodbye to their families on the first day of the 2023-24 school year. Even though it was raining, the energy of the moment could not be dampened.