Livingston's Youth Are Back to School for the 2015-2016 School Year

LHS Principal Mark Stern takes a selfie with the seniors  Credits: Livingston Public Schools

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Most parts of Livingston are calling it the “selfie seen around the world.” With seniors celebrating their final first day in Livingston’s schools, Principal Mark Stern turned the camera for a group photo embracing the Lancers spirit.

It’s a big hit on social media (see it HERE). But it wasn’t the only big hit on opening day.

At Harrison Elementary School, administrators watched as the very first students entered the brand new media center, the expressions of third and fourth graders priceless as schools turn a new chapter with these new additions. (See a slide show of the new spaces by clicking HERE.)

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“I like the giant windows,” said one student.

“I like the tables to read at,” said another.

“I like the whole thing,” said many.

In Kindergarten, where the four-and five-year-olds will one day be the LHS Class of 2028, Livingston Public Schools’ photos captured the tender moments of holding hands and holding back the tears. Children posed in their carefully picked out first-day-of-school outfits, showed joy over seeing friends, compared backpacks, hugged their mothers, and settled into school. The first day can be overwhelming, and even a bit scary, but teachers on bended knee smoothed away the jittery transition. (Click HERE to see “The First Day” photos.)

It looked like the United Nations passing by Collins Elementary School, as flags from 24 different countries presenting the ancestry of the Collins community were on display. A project of the school's PTA, the flags recognize the diversity within our town.

While the Collins students assembled on the blacktop before the first bell, a family of deer dashed by the flags, scurrying on the lawn, seemingly joining in the fun. (See Back 2 School photos from every school by clicking HERE.)

It was more fun and games at Hillside Elementary School, where students played inside the Gaga Pit, a new recess craze in town.

Livingston also welcomed Aramark foods to two new elementary schools this week. Livingston partners with this provider of school food and nutrition services in the school cafeterias. By next year’s opening, every student will have this food option.

Teachers arrived — 582 certified teaching staff members in all — earlier in the week, greeted by Livingston’s new interim superintendent, Dr. Ernest Palestis, who brings valuable perspectives to Livingston with more than 43 years in education, including 24 years as a Superintendent. Dr. Palestis reflected on his core beliefs in a speech to many of the District’s 850 staff members. Teaching is the most important profession, he said.

“Raising children, protecting children, and preparing them for the future,” said Palestis. (Read more on how teachers joined Dr. Palestis in ringing in the “New Year” by clicking HERE.)

On the first day, nearly 6000 students were registered in Livingston Public Schools. Administrators spoke with students from each grade asking what they were most looking forward to. Their answers were as varied as their ages, from the playground to friends, to learning new math skills, to preparing for college-entrance tests, to being part of clubs, to building a stage set and marching with the band.

One seventh-grader on the first day joked that he is looking forward to the very last. But that is now 177 days away.

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