First Day Of School: Claremont Road Elementary School Opens

Claremont Road Elementary School mascots Clare and Monte greet students on the first day of school Sept. 20.

The start of a new school year brought with it a new school to the district.

The Claremont Road Elementary School officially opened its doors to students Sept. 20. The school has about 700 students and can fit up to 1,000.

The Kindergarten through 5th Graders – Pre-Kindergarten starts Sept. 24 – hopped off of their school buses at the back entrance to be greeted by teachers and the school’s mascots, Clare and Monte.

“The kids are excited,” said school principal Nicole Sury Bevere. “Shock and awe, it’s shock and awe. One of the little boys said, we have mascots on the first day? Of course we do, this is Mrs. Bevere’s school, you’re going to have everything on the first day.”

Bevere said the start of the day went well.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “It’s running smooth. In no time it will be a well-oiled machine, and I will be able to sleep at night. I haven’t been able to sleep in six months.”

Bevere thanked teachers, buildings and grounds staff, the head custodian and the project manager for helping to make sure everything was ready for the first day.

“The teachers have rallied like I have never seen,” she said. “It’s obviously been a real push to the finish, the last three days, which were fall recess for us, we had over 80 to 90 percent of teachers in the building setting it up so that students were welcomed and feeling good. You notice that all the sidewalks were chalked with welcoming messages. This is all to the credit of my staff. ”

“I’m just really excited and pleased,” she said.

Sept. 20 was also the first day as an administrator for Claremont’s full-time vice-principal, Madlen Rizkalla. Rizkalla was a teacher at Franklin Park School prior to her appointment to Claremont.

“I couldn’t be luckier than this, I am so blessed,” she said. “I love it. I couldn’t be in a better situation with a better person, day one and many more days to come.”

Bevere said the first day was going to be quiet, and be more about everyone getting familiar with the building.

“I told my staff before the students arrived that our goal today is get our students safely in and safely out, and if we do that, we have made it a very successful experience for them,” she said.

Claremont Road school was built as part of the district’s “One Less Move” initiative, fueled by an $85 million referendum several years ago. The money paid for Claremont, plus renovations at most other district schools and a realignment resulting in seven elementary schools, two middle schools and the high school.

The renovations and construction led the Board of Education to approve this year’s late start. Schools Superintendent John Ravally said the extra time was needed.

“Lots of renovation work took place over the summer,” he said. “We knew it, and that’s why we announced we were going to open late last January, February, so parents could plan. We knew that we would need the time.”

There are still some parts of Claremont Road school that are undergoing construction, such as the cafeteria and the gym. Those areas should be completed in the coming weeks, district staff said.

Here are a few scenes from the day:


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