Monday marked start of 2017-18 school year

Published 7:53 pm Monday, August 28, 2017

School is back in session.

More than 7,000 students awoke early Monday and made the trek to their respective bus stops. Thousands more parents and loved ones assisted these students in packing book bags, grabbing needed supplies and getting ready for the day.

Monday marked the first day of school of the 2017-18 year for Beaufort County Schools students.

“We hope that this school year will be your best school year ever. The experiences that you share, the opportunities that you seize, the relationships that you forge, will all contribute to the quality of the educational experiences you have this year,” Superintendent Dr. Don Phipps wrote in a previous statement. “Our goal is to provide quality educational programs and services to ensure students’ academic and vocational success.”

The 2017-18 school year kicked off with a couple of changes.

As part of the updated dress code, students are no longer allowed to wear jeans with holes in them. Students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade are now allowed to wear leggings and athletic pants/shorts with an elastic waistband.

Beaufort County Schools also rolled out free lunches for all students, thanks to support from the federal Community Eligibility Provision.

According to new Southside High School Principal M.D. Coleman, the first day went well in Seahawks territory.

“There weren’t any real challenges, other than my being new at the school, along with my assistant principal (Patricia Horton),” Coleman said. “One of the things that made it a smooth day was that we met with each grade level (9-12) individually this morning in the auditorium to go over rules, procedures and expectations.”

Seth Smith, principal of Eastern Elementary School, said the school’s first day back went smoothly, as well. This was also his first day as the principal with both students and staff.

“Just so happy to see everyone,” Smith said. “The excitement, you know, is just palpable.”

Smith said he plans to implement 30-second “dance parties” every morning to encourage positivity and let students burn off some steam before getting down to business. He’s also encouraging students and staff to look at one another every day and say, “Something good is going to happen today.”

“We had a great first day. It is obvious that our school faculty and staff members spent a lot of time planning and preparing for students’ return. It was also obvious that the time spent by students, parents and school personnel at school open houses was well spent,” Phipps said Monday afternoon.

Summer may be coming to a close, but students and staff can look forward to a fast-approaching, long weekend with the Labor Day holiday.

For updates on school closings and delays due to tropical weather, visit the Beaufort County Schools website at, or follow the district on Twitter @BeaufortCoSchoolsNC.