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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, August 08, 2017 10:40 am

'You want a smiling face': East Allen returns to class

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Fourth-grader William Fletcher kept close to his mother this morning as the pair approached Leo Elementary School for the first day of the academic year.

The boy, who moved from Indianapolis, just registered Monday and didn't know who his teacher was at the fourth- through sixth-grade school.

"He's nervous," mother Anna Fletcher said, adding, "really nervous."

East Allen County Schools was the county's first district to start the 2017-18 year. Fort Wayne Community Schools begins next Tuesday, with Northwest Allen and Southwest Allen County schools following a day later.

Leo Principal William Diehl greeted students as they exited buses. Most fifth- and sixth-graders know the routine, he said, but the fourth-graders tend to be more nervous.

"You want a smiling face out there," he said while walking the empty halls after class began.

Although he planned to meet with each grade later in the day, he popped inside a few classrooms, asking students whether they liked their new environment.

"It's not a school until the kids come back," he said.

For more on this story, see Wednesday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 1 a.m. Wednesday.