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September 02. 2014 7:49PM

Motivational message greets Merrimack High seniors on first day of school


Buses line up at Merrimack High School for the first day of school on Tuesday. More than 1,300 students attend the local high school. (KIMBERLY HOUGHTON/Union Leader Correspondent)

MERRIMACK — Seniors on Tuesday received a powerful and motivational message on their first day of school — an intentional boost to keep them focused and driven throughout the entire year.

Members of the Class of 2015 were escorted outside to the high school football field, where Principal Kenneth Johnson encouraged them to stay on the right path toward graduation, ensuring that they will participate in commencement exercises with their fellow classmates in June on the same field.

“The kids were very respectful, and honestly, I think they come self-motivated,” said Johnson. “We have very high expectations for them. We are looking for the awesome in each one of them.”

Tuesday was the first day of classes for the Merrimack School District, where temperatures in some of the schools hovered around 90 degrees.

“The teachers are in a good place. Everyone was ready,” said Johnson, adding Merrimack High School has about 1,320 students, 108 teachers and about 42 para-professionals this year.

Seniors, including James Jolly, said Tuesday’s senior breakfast and senior speech were inspiring.

“It was very good. This is our year,” said Jolly, president of the senior class. Jolly spoke to the incoming freshman class on Tuesday, urging them to make the most of their four years at the school, make new friends and join various clubs.

There was a traditional freshmen welcome for the Class of 2018, which happens to be the Merrimack School District’s first kindergarten class. Instead of reporting to their homeroom classes on Tuesday, the freshmen participated in a unique scavenger hunt throughout the school designed to familiarize students with the layout of the facility and the teaching staff.

Johnson said he is looking forward to a great school year filled with positive accomplishments and enthusiastic students.

“This is my 13th year as principal, and each year I remind these students to have a vision. It is a powerful message, and I think they respond well to it,” said Johnson.

The middle and elementary schools also opened their doors on Tuesday, as local police reminded motorists to be cautious of children walking to and from school grounds and bus stops.

“Be aware — that is the most important advice,” said Police Chief Mark Doyle. “Take a few extra minutes for commutes, and be aware of your surroundings on the roadway. Just take that extra time to slow down.”

khoughton@newstote.com


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