VANDALIA — Wednesday saw the opening of the 2018-19 school year in the Vandalia-Butler City Schools. Nearly 2,900 students and 375 staff members converged on Butler High School, Morton and Smith Middle Schools, along with Helke and Demmitt Elementary schools to begin another academic year.
Wednesday also marked the beginning of a new era in the district – that of armed School Safety Officers (SSOs).
Superintendent Rob O’Leary said that opening day and that the safety officers were well received.
“It was great to have students back to school today,” O’Leary said. “The weather was beautiful. All building principals reported great first days of school verifying what I saw as I visited each building this morning – it was a very exciting, positive atmosphere throughout the district. Our SSO’s were well received and had a great first day as well. We will fine tune the typical first day hiccups tomorrow and build on this great start.”
The school year started for staff on Monday with a kickoff breakfast and program that was a throwback to the 1990’s. O’Leary and other top staff were dressed as members of New Kids on the Block while the winning costumes were staff members dressed like characters from Saved by the Bell.
Along with the fun, the day was meant to kick off the year in a positive fashion. Following the Butler fight song performed by the Aviator Marching Band, Kevin Wilson led the assembly in the Star Spangled Banner. Butler Student Body President Tyree Fletcher led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Pastor David Starry, whose First Light Church hosts the breakfast each year, noted how members of the church prayed for the teachers and staff in the district.
“We appreciate what you do, we appreciate the partnership we have in this community, and the impact that you make and hopefully the impact we are making,” said Starry. “We look forward to praying for you and having your back during a really great and successful year.”
Board of Education Vice President Holly Herbst and Vandalia-Butler Education Association President Adam Hess also welcomed staff along with Treasurer Eric Beavers and O’Leary.
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.