Frankfort Independent Schools students went back to school on Thursday, marking the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.
At Second Street School, new Principal Sam Sams greeted students and parents as they came through the school's doors and directed morning dropoff traffic. She was named to her position in June after previously serving as the school's Rigor Alignment Coach.
"I feel like, probably, a kindergartner, like it's my very first day. I'm thrilled. I am honored," Sams said.
She added that she is excited and that SSS students and families have a great year ahead of them. The school has a good energy and she wants everyone to be involved. This year will about supporting opportunities for students, Sams explained.
Michelle Elam dropped off her now second-grader, Aiden, to SSS early Thursday. She said that he is excited to go back to school, as he enjoys math and recess. Elam said that both she and her son enjoy being a part of the SSS community.
"It's more of a home place," Elam said.
Frankfort High School students were also back in the school's hallways, catching up with friends after summer break and looking for their class schedules posted on a wall.
For senior Emily Slone, it was her first day at Frankfort High. She transferred from Anderson County High School after going on a summer trip to Europe with other FHS students and because the school's volleyball coach is a mentor of hers. Slone also liked the idea of having a senior internship to figure out what kind of career she wants after graduating.
As for the year ahead, Slone is excited.
"I just want to make new friends," she said.
FHS Principal John Lyons said the school will focus on teaching students about servant leadership and how they can give back to the world around them through the school's theme of "Rise, Serve, Lead." On Thursday, the senior class went on the first-ever senior retreat to learn more about being a servant leader in their school.
Lyons also encourages students' families to keep up with school happenings through the Panther Newsletter.
He added that enrollment at the high school was at a record high this year with 260 students, up from 250 last year.
"I'm just excited. We are growing unbelievably fast right now," he said.
Superintendent Houston Barber was at both schools Thursday morning. At Frankfort High, he made a point to video a school tradition, the senior clap-in, where underclassmen applaud the current senior class as they walk into the auditorium on their last first day of school.
For FIS as a whole, Barber said the district will continue to focus on its Profile of a Graduate work, which aims to prepare students for all aspects of their post-graduation life, create more college and career opportunities and remove barriers for all students.
"It's such a great opportunity to reconnect with our kids, our families and community and push towards excellence," Barber said.
The first day of kindergarten for the district is Friday and the first day of preschool is Monday.