The last day of school was filled with raucous cheering from students and teachers alike at schools across the city on Friday.
At Oakland Elementary School, teachers waved pom-poms and honked noisemakers as students boarded the buses.
A preschool class was the first to leave the school building. They carried a banner reading “Kindergarten, Here We Come” with a mix of joy at the impending summer and gravitas at the immense task that lies beyond it.
On the other end of the spectrum, a new class of fifth-graders at Oakland Elementary School suddenly became sixth-graders at King’s Fork Middle School. Special education teacher Sally Evans said several fifth-graders who are precious to her graduated this year.
“It’s heart-rending, because we try to invest a lot into them, not only academics but emotions,” she said.
Suffolk Police Department officers were at every school during Friday’s dismissal time. At Oakland, Officer Shelly Koziana high-fived nearly every student as they filed by.
Nearby, first-grade teacher Kaye Jefferson took time out from honking a noisemaker to confirm that she was happy — “capital H-A-P-P-Y,” she said — as the buses rounded the bus loop and headed out to drop students off for the last time.
At Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School, teachers blew bubbles and used hand-clapper toys to send off the kids in style. One class took beach balls home, signed by all of their classmates, as souvenirs.
At Northern Shores Elementary School, students heading for the buses were greeted with a cheering audience of teachers and parents on the path to the parking lot. Several students held up a banner that said “Go Northern Shores Dolphins” in reference to their mascot.
“We celebrated our fifth-graders by allowing them to board the buses first as we sent them off to middle school,” said Northern Shores Elementary School principal Tara Moore.
Kindergarten teacher assistant Queenie Mason was lively with bubbles and wearing a sign on her shirt that read “Hey, hey, hey, goodbye” with a smiley face.
James Valdivieso, a fourth-grade teacher assistant, was dressed in his signature leprechaun hat, kilt and shoes. He said that the students often say he looks like a leprechaun, so he decided to break out his St. Patrick’s Day attire for the Friday festivities.
By 1:30 p.m., the hundreds of bus-bound students were all aboard and waving out the windows as they rode off to the clamor of about 100 faculty members, marking the end of the school year for the Northern Shores community.
“We don’t normally have them hanging out windows, but it was a time to celebrate,” Moore said.