2008-09-06 / Top News

Island's 82 Students Begin School Year With Picnic, Fort Tour

Island Students, Community Enjoy Day Full of Fun To Begin School Year

Senior Richard Chambers prepares the cannon for firing as Fort Mackinac interpreter Jason Little looks on, while seventh grade student Adrienne Rilenge assists by covering the small opening called the touch hole, which is where the fuse would be lit. Both students celebrated a birthday Monday, September 1. When the school year began Tuesday, September 2, Mackinac Island students enjoyed a picnic and a visit to Fort Mackinac. See story, page 12. Senior Richard Chambers prepares the cannon for firing as Fort Mackinac interpreter Jason Little looks on, while seventh grade student Adrienne Rilenge assists by covering the small opening called the touch hole, which is where the fuse would be lit. Both students celebrated a birthday Monday, September 1. When the school year began Tuesday, September 2, Mackinac Island students enjoyed a picnic and a visit to Fort Mackinac. See story, page 12. The bell rang at precisely 8:15 a.m., signaling the start of the new school year for the 82 students at Mackinac Island Public School Tuesday, September 2.

Elementary students filed through the red doors of the school and eagerly sought out their locker area and hooks for their jackets and backpacks before heading into the classroom for the first time this school year. High school students at the other end of the school building used the remaining minutes before class to catch up on summer news with friends.

The students, as well as residents on the Island, look forward to the first day of school, as class is concluded at noon to allow the students to participate in the traditional outdoor picnic with parents and community members. Many of the school's visitors enjoyed lunch while watching students play with outdoor toys, provided by Great Turtle Toys.

Fort Mackinac interpretive soldier Jason Kladiva takes a quick break before the next military drill with the help of fifth grader Molly Tokarz's head, as fellow classmate Keely Johnson looks on with amusement. Fort Mackinac interpretive soldier Jason Kladiva takes a quick break before the next military drill with the help of fifth grader Molly Tokarz's head, as fellow classmate Keely Johnson looks on with amusement. Superintendent Roger Schrock welcomed the students back to school and welcomed visitors to the picnic before school cook Donna Killups unveiled the food provided by the staff - hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni salad, and desserts.

After lunch, teachers led students from the school's playground to the parade ground of Fort Mackinac, where they were entertained with military marches, rifle and cannon firings, and 1880s music.

Several elementary and high school students, and even teachers, joined in the interactive military march led by Fort Mackinac interpretive soldier Jared Little. Mr. Little, dressed in an 1880s soldier uniform, barked orders to the group to form a straight line, directing them to keep their backs straight and arms and legs together while standing at attention.

The first day of school certainly was not a quiet one, especially during the students' visit to Fort Mackinac, where (above) first grader Hannah Styburski, second grader Alexandria Pokora, and first grader Makenna Horricks prepare themselves for a rifle firing while (at right) special education teacher Kathleen Peterson does the same, during the Fort's cannon firing demonstration. The first day of school certainly was not a quiet one, especially during the students' visit to Fort Mackinac, where (above) first grader Hannah Styburski, second grader Alexandria Pokora, and first grader Makenna Horricks prepare themselves for a rifle firing while (at right) special education teacher Kathleen Peterson does the same, during the Fort's cannon firing demonstration. "We'll have to excuse you from not being in registration uniform," Mr. Little playfully told his "new recruits." He added, "and many of you must have lied on your registration, because I don't think all of you are of age to serve in the military," eyeing the many elementary students, some of whom may have wondered if he was serious.

Assisted by fellow interpreter Jason Kladiva, Mr. Little led the group into a marching column and battle line, marching the students and teachers around the parade grounds while shouting directional orders.

The two interpreters then held a rifle fire demonstration, firing field rifles similar to those used when the U.S. Army occupied Fort Mackinac during the 1880s.

A few students assisted the two interpreters in preparing the firing of the Fort's cannon. Senior Robert Chambers, sixth grade student Kyle Shunk, fifth grade student Keely Johnson, and seventh grade student Adrienne Rilenge each did a part in cleaning and preparing the cannon before Mr. Kladiva set it off, discharging a loud boom across the Island's harbor.

The students also enjoyed an ice cream social in the fort's Tea Room to conclude their first day of school.

Soldiers in the making: Historic interpreter Jared Little of Fort Mackinac barks orders at a fresh batch of "new recruits" as he instructs an 1880s military drill at the fort's marching grounds Tuesday, September 2. The recruits are students from Mackinac Island Public School, who began classes that day and, at noon, enjoyed a picnic at the school playground and a visit to Fort Mackinac. Pictured standing in line (from left) are Aaron Riggs, Nicholas Pokora, Grace Roguska, Skyler Early, Christopher Riggs, and Christian Styburski. Soldiers in the making: Historic interpreter Jared Little of Fort Mackinac barks orders at a fresh batch of "new recruits" as he instructs an 1880s military drill at the fort's marching grounds Tuesday, September 2. The recruits are students from Mackinac Island Public School, who began classes that day and, at noon, enjoyed a picnic at the school playground and a visit to Fort Mackinac. Pictured standing in line (from left) are Aaron Riggs, Nicholas Pokora, Grace Roguska, Skyler Early, Christopher Riggs, and Christian Styburski. This year's three-person fifth grade class at Mackinac Island Public school was actually able to fit on this big bouncy ball during the traditional picnic in the playground. Pictured are (from left) classmates Rhiannon Jones, Molly Tokarz, and Keely Johnson. This year's three-person fifth grade class at Mackinac Island Public school was actually able to fit on this big bouncy ball during the traditional picnic in the playground. Pictured are (from left) classmates Rhiannon Jones, Molly Tokarz, and Keely Johnson. Enjoying hamburgers, hot dogs, and side dishes during the school's annual back-to-school picnic are (in foreground, from left, clockwise) School Superintendent Roger Schrock, his wife, Linda, and Jim and Sandy Roe, the parents of seventh grade student Amelia Roe. Enjoying hamburgers, hot dogs, and side dishes during the school's annual back-to-school picnic are (in foreground, from left, clockwise) School Superintendent Roger Schrock, his wife, Linda, and Jim and Sandy Roe, the parents of seventh grade student Amelia Roe.

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