AUTHOR: MONIQU

TUPELO STUDENTS GO BACK TO SCHOOL

By Monique Harrison

Daily Journal

Five-year-old Jeremy Holliday is a little concerned about the demands of his school career, which started when the Thomas Street Elementary kindergartner reported to class Wednesday.

"You've got to go to sleep," he said, widening his eyes. "I don't like having to go to sleep. At home, I don't go to sleep. I watch TV. I might get sleepy here, but I don't want to go to sleep."

And young Jeremy, who started his school career clad in a brightly colored polo shirt, has another concern weighing heavily on his mind.

"I don't like snakes," he said.

Apparently, there's a legend at Thomas Street Elementary about a snake that appears from behind a rock in front of the school.

"It's a big, bad, scary, ugly snake and it will get you," Jeremy said, nodding his head to stress his point. "My friend told me about it. He saw it before."

Snake or no snake, Tupelo students returned to the classroom for their first full day of class Wednesday. Lee County students returned Tuesday. Most Northeast Mississippi students will be back in school by Friday.

For younger students - particularly kindergarten students - the first day is spent grappling with the ins and outs of school life.

In teacher Christy Todd's kindergarten class at Thomas Street, for example, students listened to advice found in a book about kindergarten.

"I want all of you to try to know what you're going to do here," Todd told her students, who sat attentively on a colorful mat often used during reading time.

The way many youngsters see it, kindergarten is pretty simple stuff.

"You play, play, play!" exclaimed Tyler Huntington, also a Thomas Street kindergartner. "I like to play. I like kindergarten."

"You run around outside a lot," added Shannon Elementary's Tiael Donaldson, 5. "You color and run outside, mostly. And you ride the bus."

But Thomas Street's Merrie Kyle Langley isn't so sure.

"You have to learn stuff - have to learn to read," Merrie Kyle said. "Learning to read will be good but it might be hard."

Shannon Elementary's Cody Allen Dye said he's got a handle on the days of the week.

"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday," Cody said in a sing-song voice. "That's not hard."

But the devil's in the details.

"I have to know my lunch number," he said. "It's hard to remember. I think it's 113. Or maybe 115. I don't really know my lunch number yet. Do you know it?"

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