First day at Lely High

At 8 a.m., everything was running smoothly at Lely High School.

The buses were on time. Only a handful of students still needed to register. With school in session for about 30 minutes, no one had been sent to the principal's office.

The 1,600 students who roamed the halls at Lely High School were among more than 44,000 Collier County students returning to school today.

The Collier County school district started the 2006-2007 school year today, one week after Lee County opened its doors. About 1,100 new students will be attending the 45 Collier County schools this year.

This marks the first year for the Lorenzo Walker Technical High School. The new school, located on the Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology's campus, will be home to 150 freshman.

Barbara Johnson fills out her own personal news story in her first class on the first day of school.

Photo by Michael Newman

Barbara Johnson fills out her own personal news story in her first class on the first day of school.

Students weren't the only ones experiencing first day jitters, though.

About 400 new teachers stood in their classrooms, waiting for their students to come through the doors. For many, this was their first time in their own classroom, LHS principal Ken Fairbanks said.

"It's a scary time for all of us," he said.

Fairbanks should know. After years of teaching and being a principal at elementary and middle schools, Fairbanks started his first day as principal of a high school this morning. But with many of the students and several teachers coming from East Naples Middle School, where Fairbanks was principal last year, he said his first day of school jitters were minimal.

"It's always nice to have a few faces you recognize around on your first day," he said.

See more about the first day of school on Marco Island in Tuesday's edition of the Marco Eagle.

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