United again at DG Elementary

Parker Miller is all smiles as he makes his way down the sidewalk to Dysart-Geneseo Elementary Monday morning for his very first day of kindergarten. Photo Ruby F. Bodeker

The rain moved off just in time for the first morning drop-off of the 2021-2022 school year at Dysart-Geneseo Elementary on Monday, August 23.

“Oh, yes, I’m ready!” Erin Reed said as she wheeled a stroller up to the entrance of DG Elementary, following close behind her two kids Rylan and Raegan.

Similar sentiments could be heard throughout the morning as parents hugged their kids, wished them good luck on their first day, and waved goodbye.

“Finally!” one parent called out.

“We made it through another summer!” a second parent exclaimed back.

Erin Reed (left) hugs her daughter Raegan goodbye Monday morning just outside the entrance to Dysart-Geneseo Elementary while big brother Rylan (center) looks on. Photo Ruby F. Bodeker

Eleven new staff members experienced their first day of school alongside DG students on Monday including first grade teachers Mackenzie Bruns and Bobbie Hilmer, fourth grade teacher Kaylee Kruse, music teacher Jen Bistline, and art teacher Jaime Wilson.

New support staff at DG includes Rose Brunsen, Taryn Davis, and Jeremy Hartman as special education associates; Cozette Whalen is the new kitchen assistant.

Nancy Hubbard has been hired as a long term substitute for special education.

Enrollment is up slightly at DG, falling somewhere between five and ten new students, according to Dysart-Geneseo Principal Jim Cayton. There will be three sections of first grade this year, two sections each of kindergarten, second, and third grades, and one section each of third and fifth grades.

Students will notice several new items in and around the school this year, Cayton said, including different room signs in the hallways, a new GaGa Pit on the playground, and a new look to the school’s front entrance.

Members of the Dysart American Legion wait outside DG Elementary for the student body to assemble for the annual flag raising ceremony and gun salute on Monday morning. Last year’s ceremony did not take place due to the pandemic. Photo Ruby F. Bodeker

Many parents commented on the new entrance look — the doors are now covered with a Union red background that obscures the inside of the building slightly. The door also features a #UKNIGHTED graphic and the school’s logo.

Shortly after the school day began, the entire student body plus staff walked back outside to experience the first flag raising of the school year with the assistance of the Dysart American Legion.

“This is an annual tradition that we did not get to do last year,” Cayton said to the students, a line of Legion members positioned in formation behind him. “We are so excited to bring it back.”

Following the pledge of allegiance and the flags being raised, the Legion members then completed the ceremony by firing blanks.

“It’s going to be kind of loud,” Cayton said ahead of the firing. “Don’t be frightened.”

Macie Schmidt (center) smiles for her dad Casey’s camera on her first day of school at DG Elementary while her sister Natalie (right) waits nearby. Photo Ruby F. Bodeker

When asked to reflect on the first day, Cayton said, “As always, we are excited to be back to school after summer break. [I’m] looking forward to meeting new students and creating relationships.”

Back to school at DG Elementary. Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker

Dysart American legion flag raising ceremony, DG Elementary. Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker