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First-time kindergartners pass the test

Observer photos by Jess Wisloski Ellowyn Salisbury, 5 calls to her dad and waves as she prepares to board her first school bus as teacher Jen Canfield walks with her.
Observer photos by Jess Wisloski
Ellowyn Salisbury, 5 calls to her dad and waves as she prepares to board her first school bus as teacher Jen Canfield walks with her.

Bus trial at Allen Brook sets kids up for success

Dozens of 5-year-olds and their parents filled the kindergarten rooms at Allen Brook School Monday, learning about what to expect on the first day of school, and getting ready for what was the first real taste of independence for many.

That day, they would be riding a big yellow school bus (almost) all by themselves.

While parents and children crammed attentively and solemnly into the five classrooms, as soon as the one-hour introduction session let out, those same parents dutifully filed out — but this time, without the tiny hand that’s usually in theirs.

The faces of parents waiting for their kids to be let out, lined up along the edge of the parking lot, evoked nervousness, insecurity and some pain.

“I cried, I’ll admit it,” said Jessica Phillips, as her son sat on a bus that would take him home in just a few minutes.

“I’ll be that way on Thursday when it’s really happening and she’s actually going,” said Rebecca Cole, Phillips’ best friend. For now, she said, she was just apprehensive.

Crowding to loadChristina Deonley, whose daughter Isabella was on the bus for the first time, said she was surprised at how pumped she was. “I found myself getting really excited. She’s really excited and I can feel that in her, in the look on her face…so enthralled with everything!”

On one route, bus driver Pam Deavitt put kids at ease with gentle goofing around.

“I’m Miss Pam, or Pammy, or Pam or..Princess!” she told a girl named Lilliana.

Colton Fielder, 5, who sat waiting for his bus to take off, said he wasn’t thrilled. “I tried a bus once, but I didn’t like it,” he said

Pam Deavitt with Lilihana
Pam Deavitt with Lilihana
Parents line up as the children load awaiting buses.
Parents line up as the children load awaiting buses.

Ellowyn Salisbury, 5, one of the first children to emerge from the school, spotted her dad in the parking lot and called his name, waving.

“That’s kind of her energy,” Cliff Salisbury said. “All the time, she’s excited, every day.”

Mom Melissa Salisbury said she had mixed feelings. “I feel happy for her, I feel proud and sad all at the same time,” she said, then paused. “I think she’s going to love it and I’m so excited for her to blossom.”

–Jess Wisloski, Observer staff