With the ring of the bell, a new school year starts in Philadelphia

Mike DeNardo
September 03, 2019 - 10:31 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Summer vacation has ended, and it’s back to the books. Tuesday is the first day of classes for 124,000 students in the School District of Philadelphia. 

The year started with the traditional bell-ringing ceremony, wide-eyed, nervous students joined the mayor, superintendent and school board members in the school yard at Robert Morris Elementary at 26th and Thompson streets.

Eleven-year-old sixth grader Torin Phillips is starting his first year at Morris, so he can be forgiven for being a little anxious.

"Because this is a new school with new people to meet. I'm a little nervous to meet some new people," he said.

Phillips said his goal is straight A’s.

"I hope it's a great school. I hear that it’s a great school, though," he said.

His principal, Carolyn Williams, says even principals get butterflies on the first day of school.

"We still get them even as principals," Williams said. "Because with great anticipation you want everything to go well.  You’re excited about the children coming back.  And you’re just excited about what the year is going to bring to the children in this community."

Williams says her goal on Day One is to continue to nurture the skills of her 240 students, so that they can be successful.

Mayor Jim Kenney recalled the nerves on his first day going to school.

"Sharswood Elementary, Mrs. Biddle, back in — oh, God, what year was that?" he said. "Kindergarten was a half-day then. And the thing I liked about it the most was the nap!"

The mayor says he was pleased with the school board, following the district's first year back under local control.