BROWNSTOWN — The first day of classes began Friday and many young students walked into Brownstown Elementary School with feelings of excitement and nervousness.
The nearby Jackson County Fairgrounds was bustling with activity just a short week ago and now that it’s August, it’s time to head back to school.
Marty Young, who was previously assistant principal at the school, began his first day on the job as principal and was joined by Blakli Hukill, who is the new assistant principal and the school’s athletic director to boot.
Hukill worked at Jennings County High School as an English teacher for six years before being hired for the job at Brownstown Elementary School in the spring.
Young replaces Chrystal Street, who is now the superintendent of Crothersville Community School Corp.
“I am excited and blessed to be the new principal at the elementary school,” Young said. “I was the assistant principal last year, so I am familiar with the building, staff and routines. However, I am taking on new roles and responsibilities that bring new challenges, and I am always up for challenges.”
Hukill also talked briefly about her new role.
“It’s exciting,” Hukill said. “I’m just trying to learn the ins and outs of elementary school, but it’s very exciting.”
Both stood outside of the school early Friday morning greeting students. Superintendent Tim Taylor, Assistant Superintendent Jade Peters, and Brownstown police officers Joe Kelly and Natalie Boling also showed up for the first day of the new school year.
Young said he wants to make the job of every staff member easier and every decision he makes will be made while thinking about what is in the best interests of his students.
Safety is the number one priority of the school, he said, and ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) drills will be conducted throughout the year.
“We are making a special effort to keep everyone safe at all times,” Young said.
He said administrators, teachers and other staff are working on creating a positive school culture where students have pride in their school by having them follow a code called “The Brave Way.”
“Brownstown Elementary School continually strives to build relationships with the families of our students,” Young said. “The lines are always open to reach out to classroom teachers or office staff. Communication is always key to student success.”
Ashley Wolka said she was starting her second year as a teacher’s aide at the school and it was a positive morning seeing all of the students being dropped off.
“I’m excited to see what this year holds for me and for the kids, really,” Wolka said. “They’re all coming in so happy.”
Wolka specifically works with first-graders and said she likes students in that age group.
“First grade is a wonderful grade,” she said. “We are fun. We do exciting things and the kids love it.”
BES kindergarten student Rhyett Engelking said he was looking forward to the new school year and being good because “it’s good to do.”
Engelking, who wore a Jurassic World backpack to school, said he also was excited to play on the playground.
Fellow kindergartener Wesley Wessel said he is excited to be in Mrs. (Darcy) Harvey’s class and see his friends from daycare.
Alanna Hansen, who also is in kindergarten, said she is in Mrs. (Rachel) Johnson class and is looking forward to making new friends.
Mia Harless said she was in Mrs. (Michelle) Elliott’s kindergarten class and the one thing she was most excited for the new school year was, also, making new friends.
Fifth-grader Preston Ellis said he missed the school’s open house so his first day will involve figuring out how to get around the school.
He said that he wasn’t excited to start school and if he wasn’t at school, he’d prefer to be homeschooled.