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New School Year Opens Across Old Town

By Ted Cox | September 5, 2017 12:16pm
 The first day of school is an opportunity for a selfie for parents and students outside Franklin Fine Arts Center Tuesday.
The first day of school is an opportunity for a selfie for parents and students outside Franklin Fine Arts Center Tuesday.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

OLD TOWN — It was the first day of school across Old Town on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day.

Payton College Prep students know the drill by now and arrived in time before the 8 a.m. resumption of classes at 1034 N. Wells St., even freshmen.

Lynn Brahin, a parent from the New East Side, entered her second student at the school, a daughter who's a new freshman and following in the footsteps of an older brother who graduated from the school and is now off at the University of Pittsburgh.

Some things never change, however, for students and parents.

"I was a total embarrassment to her," Brahin said. Her new Payton freshman was "mortified I would hop on the train with her" for the first day, but there they were, right on time.

Up the street at Franklin Fine Arts Center, 225 W. Evergreen Ave., the ever-in-motion Principal Kurt Jones was out front welcoming students, urging them to get inside and have some breakfast and reuniting with old parents.

"Welcome back, welcome back!" Jones said. "Have a good summer?"

He waved off questions about budget cuts over the summer to concentrate on the optimism of the first day of school.

"Good luck this year!" Called out a parent.

"We don't need luck," Jones said. "We're just good."

At LaSalle Language Academy, 1734 N. Orleans St., parents took photos outside the kindergarten entrance with new students going off to school for the first time.

Across the playground, there were hugs of reunion as students saw each other after a summer off.

 The first day of school across Old Town.
OT First Day of School 2017
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At Manierre Elementary, 1420 N. Hudson Ave., things were considerably less festive outdoors, but still parents dutifully walked their children in to begin the school year under a new principal, Tinishi Davis, appointed on an interim basis by Chicago Public Schools pending Local School Council approval to replace the departed Principal Derrick Orr.

Yet even at Manierre there was good news and optimism to start the year. According to Mildred Walton, acting curriculum coach and assistant to new Principal Davis, Manierre has already heard that it will be recognized this fall to be in full compliance with CPS standards, after narrowly avoiding closure just four years ago.

"We have arrived" at the second-highest CPS performance ranking. Walton said. "And this year our main goal is to make it to" the highest.