The students arrive and the real work begins.

The school buses sat idle for most of the summer, but bright and early this morning, ninth-grade students who live in Saco, Dayton, and Arundel stood sheepishly along the side of the road as they waited for the first bus ride to their new school.

Freshly washed and filled with freshmen, the buses begin to arrive. (Photo – David Hanright)

Driving to work, I saw more than one parent trying to adjust their son or daughter’s clothing and take a picture with their phone. I smiled as the moment played out. No doubt, this important event would be documented and part of the social media cloud within an hour.

At Thornton Academy, on this first day of school, teachers and staff see only the freshmen. It gives them a chance to learn their schedule for the year, meet their teachers, and become just a bit more familiar with the school without the upperclass students adding to the confusion.

Organizing schedules for 400 freshmen is just one of the tasks for the day. (Photo – David Hanright)

For the most part, the students seem excited to be here, to see their friends and to finally be enrolled in the high school. Student athletes who play on the fall sports teams have already been here for two weeks or more and they too seemed more than willing to share the wisdom they’ve gained during those first few days. They certainly have a better understanding of the campus and the layout of the buildings and classrooms.

Our teachers, all dressed in school colors, helped with the logistics of getting 400 new and nervous students through the day. Introductions were made and names were partially committed to memory. Students were treated to a barbecue, complete with a Dilly-Bar for dessert.

Tomorrow, every student returns to campus and the hallways will feel as if they are bursting as nearly 1,600 young, and sometimes rambunctious and rowdy, students fill every space on campus. Let’s hope the forecasts are correct and the temperatures are more seasonal. 

For me, I’ll see all my students, and some will be familiar faces, others will be new acquaintances, but one of the true joys of being a teacher will happen when we begin to learn about each other and from each other. Another year really begins.

See you on the roads and stay tuned – as always, if I think it’s interesting, I’ll write about it.

Thanks again for reading my stories and as always, you may purchase my novel, Homecoming: A Soldier’s Story of Loyalty, Courage, and Redemption at your local, independent bookstore or online:, or

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David Arenstam

About David Arenstam

Originally from away, but here to stay - Maine is my home and I love writing stories about the people and places from my end of the state. I am a teacher and writer and my first novel, "Homecoming: A Soldier's Story of Loyalty, Courage, and Redemption" is available now at