The bell at Tye River Elementary School rang at 2 p.m. Aug. 5, letting students, teachers, and parents alike know the division’s open house was officially underway.

Nelson County Public Schools held an open house to welcome students and parents to the 2019-2020 school year. The four public schools in the division — Tye River and Rockfish River elementary schools, and Nelson County middle and high school — were open from 2 to 7 p.m. just two days before the official first day of school. Students were able to pick up their schedules and meet their teachers. In turn, teachers were able to show off their freshly decorated classrooms and meet their new students.

“It’s a fresh start,” Marti Bradt, principal of Tye River, said. “The staff is excited and enthused to continue to help students grow.”

The grass in front of the school was lined with new signs showing school spirit, a bright banner hung in the front of the door to Tye River’s main office, and a line of eager individuals stood in front of Tye River waiting to be let in. The crowd was met by Bradt welcoming them back after summer break. After stopping in the cafeteria to pick up schedules and other necessary paperwork, families made their way to their new classrooms. In the cafeteria, other organizations like the Nelson County Parks and Recreation Department, set up tables so kids and parents would have the opportunity to sign up for out-of-school activities.

Saronda Ross, who has been in Nelson County most of her life, was in Michelle Lucado’s classroom, where her 5-year-old son Jamar will be attending kindergarten. Ross’s daughter will be entering third grade at Tye River as well.

“I’m looking forward to them learning more and growing. They get along with any and everyone,” Ross said.

Lucado had a scavenger hunt for her students so they could familiarize themselves with the classroom. Excited children ran around, finding her rocking chair, the reading area and their colorful name tags placed on tables in the center of the room.

Nearby, in Rebecca Allen’s kindergarten classroom, 6-year-old Nicole Dover and her mom Angela McKinney were getting to know Allen’s classroom, where Nicole will be spending her kindergarten year at Tye River.

“I’m looking forward to school,” Nicole said.

When asked what she was most excited to learn about, Nicole said “letters.”

Allen, who had a whirlwind summer traveling the globe as well as moving, had her classroom all ready to go. Individual cubbies were marked with each child’s name and she had folders labeled for each child with forms both students and parents need.

Just a mile down the road at the middle and high school complex, the parking lot was full. Just like at Tye River, the energy in the building was invigorating, with everyone eager to start the school year. Kids were flooding the hallways, finding their classrooms and getting their schedules. Newly-hired principal Christopher Sumner spent time introducing himself to open house attendees and exploring the high school.

School officially started Aug. 7.

Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.

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Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.

Erin Conway covers Nelson County. Reach her at (434) 385-5524 or

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