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More Than One Way

More Than One Way

WFISD schools get creative on the FDOS


There’s not just one way to celebrate the first day of school.

Wichita Falls ISD schools proved that Monday, August 22.


Fowler Elementary

At Fowler Elementary, Principal Jeff Hill decked himself out in a tuxedo and tennis shoes and stood outside on the school’s red carpet to welcome students. Armed with a microphone, he talked to students as if they were celebrities as they walked into school.


He played peppy, loud music that could be heard all over the campus. That made easy dancing with the visiting cow mascot from Chick-Fil-A and the Wildcats mascot.


Fowler Principal Jeff Hill tries to ease back-to-school jitters by conversing with new students as they approach the school entrance. Behind them, children and their parents line up to take photos in a special photo booth corner.


On the school’s front porch, he set up a special backdrop for First Day of School photos, complete with grade level signs to hold and a campus photographer to snap the pictures.



There’s nothing like starting the day with a big bear hug from a favorite mascot.  One student is enveloped by the Wildcats mascot.


One student carried in his first day of school homework: a collage of information about him and his family.



Lamar Elementary

Retired teacher Tom Brox may have retired in May, but he couldn’t resist a First Day of School Event.


Retired teacher Tom Brox, accompanied by a soundtrack, brought a live trumpet concert into the quiet Lamar hallways.


He set up his trumpet stand in the bowels of Lamar Elementary, away from the hub-bub near the entry. Accompanied by a soundtrack, he played his trumpet for students as they made their way through the long hallways to find their new classrooms.



Lamar’s Mr. Robert Maxwell introduced himself to a new student coming into his classroom. The first day of school is all about making everybody comfortable, he said.


Franklin Elementary

Franklin third-grade teacher Sherri Webb looked for a calming activity for her students, something that would relax them after a busy morning of coming back to school and seeing new friends.


She passed out Play-Doh and asked students to make anything they liked, then draw a picture of what they made, and then write why they made it.


Molding Play-Doh seemed like a relaxing way to start the new school year for third-graders after the hectic rush-rush of getting into the building, said Ben Franklin Elementary teacher Sherri Webb. One student molded a butterfly.


Students created a skateboard (“because I like to skate”), a pizza (“because I was hungry”), a tree (“because it was easy”), a sand dollar (“because I went to the beach this summer”), and a dog named Tucker playing soccer (“because I miss him when I am at school”).
They packaged their Play-Doh creations in plastic bags and hung them in the hallway to be admired.


Fain Elementary

Fain Principal Clarisa Richie believed the First Day of School deserved a party.



Fain teachers led students in a dance party Monday. Eventually, the balloons anchored overhead were released to students.



Strobe lighting made dancing feel special in the school’s cafeteria.

So, at 9:30 a.m., after everyone had gotten comfortable in their classrooms, the entire school gathered in the cafeteria for a dance party.

The room was dance-party dark except for pulsating strobe lights, revolving disco balls and pounding music from Taylor Swift and songs like “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams. Teachers handed out glow sticks that students wrapped around their necks like necklaces or wrists like bracelets.



Teachers distributed light sticks to students, who wore them around their necks and wrists.


For a half hour, students joined teachers in jumping, dancing, wiggling and parading to music, along with their rocket mascot.

A net of 200 balloons hanging over the students’ heads was eventually let down, and balloons cascaded like a waterfall onto students’ heads. Students captured the balloons and kicked and played with them.

The First Day of School party idea, based on a creative idea from the famed Ron Clark Academy, made a festive first day.

“What did you like best?” asked teachers as students lined up to return to class.

“The songs!”

“The balloons!”

“The song, ‘Uptown.’”

“The glow sticks.”


“Was it fun?” asked one teacher.

“I got tired!” said one little boy.


Fain Principal Clarisa Richie wears a light stick around her neck as she dances alongside students during the FDOS dance party.