There’s a special joy that comes with the last day of school, but when celebrations enter the picture, the excitement intensifies.
Students across the Rowan-Salisbury School System finished out the school year Wednesday with a variety of parties, activities and special assemblies.
Students at Landis Elementary School had a special treat — water games.
The school’s outdoor basketball court and surrounding yard area were filled with smiles and giggles as students rotated through stations with different water activities.
The children tossed sponge balls back and forth and participated in relays. They even got joy out of simply wringing water out of a sponge on their classmates’ heads.
And, of course, there was the overwhelming favorite — the fire truck. Much to the delight of the students, firefighters from Landis came out to the school with a truck and sprayed all of the children with a fire hose.
The water games were a part of a yearlong behavior rewards system where students could earn the opportunity to attend different events each quarter.
“The kids have worked hard, and each nine weeks they try to behave the best they can and it’s a reward system,” said Kassandra Rockstad, a second grade teacher at Landis.
She added that Wednesday’s activities were the “big bang” at the end of the year, and that a majority of students earned the privilege to participate.
“The kids have had to really dig deep and learn more things than they have in a while, but there was a joy to it and you could see each kid’s light bulb come on,” Rockstad said.
The end-of-year festivities were organized in a team effort by Landis’ Parent-Teacher Association, administrators and specialist teachers.
While the students thoroughly enjoyed the water activities, they still had lots to look forward to over their summer vacations.
Second grader Grace Meckley said she’s excited to be able to “do anything” over summer break.
Her classmate, Audrey Rockstad, exclaimed that she couldn’t wait to “go to the beach,” a sentiment quickly echoed by Kayla Brown.
Malachi Strong will be attending a football camp this summer, and Miles Roberts plans to do a lot of fishing, camping and swimming.
Emily Wing said she’s looking forward to go to the pool with her cousins and their puppy.
Teachers, too, are looking forward to a break from the daily routine of classes.
Teacher Rockstad said she’ll be spending a lot of time with her own kids, as well as working on professional development for next year.
Ashton Wingler is wrapping up her first full year as a third grade teacher at Landis. The newlywed is excited to go on a delayed honeymoon in Jamaica. She also plans to tutor some over the summer.
Wingler said that despite how crazy things get, the end of the school year is her favorite time of the year.
When end of grade tests come in, “I see all the growth,” she said.
“I’m going to miss them. They’re sweet,” Wingler said.
She added she’ll going to miss all the notes and hugs she gets each day, but she also said she’s looking forward to the fall, when she gets “a new start” with new students.
Landis’ second graders are also looking forward to fall and a fresh start in third grade, with goals of getting good grades and learning their multiplication tables next year.