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Students dropped off by parents or on buses received a welcome that included a mayor, a city manager and a police chief.

PMG PHOTO: RAY PITZ - Students at Deer Creek Elementary School pile walk to the front door after being dropped off on the first day of school Tuesday. As the 570 students from Deer Creek Elementary School arrived for their first day of school Tuesday, they were greeted by an impressive welcoming committee.

In addition to principal Cori Waufle, those waiting to say hello included King City Mayor Jaimie Fender, City Manager Mike Weston and Police Chief Ernie Happala.

As a steady stream of buses and parents dropped students off at one of the busiest school drop-off sites, Waufle, who is in her second year in charge of Deer Creek Elementary School, said she was looking forward to the excitement of a new school year, as well as welcoming students back and "hearing about their summer adventures."

Waufle said there were lots of restrictions last year as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to require precautions, noting that this year's welcome had more of a "pre-COVID" feel to it.PMG PHOTO: RAY PITZ - First-grade teacher Angela Kingery makes sure students know where the schools restrooms are on the first day of school at Deer Creek Elementary School.

In fact, district officials say initial enrollment figures show students coming back to school at pre-COVID attendance numbers, although there are several school that show smaller enrollments.

In her second year at the only public school in King City — part of the Tigard-Tualatin School District, which also serves most of nearby Tigard and Tualatin, as well as Durham, Metzger and Bull Mountain — Waufle said one thing she was looking forward to overseeing were school assemblies, canceled last year because of the continuing pandemic. The first one is set for Friday.

"We're aiming for one a month," she said.

Fender has two children who attend Deer Creek. Beyond that personal connection, she said King City is also working to support in-school activities at the school.PMG PHOTO: RAY PITZ - Among those awaiting to greet students at Deer Creek Elementary School were, from left,  King City Police Chief Ernie Happala, Lt. Brian Sigler, King City Mayor Jaimie Fender and City Manager Mike Weston.

Once off the bus Tuesday morning, students shuffled inside to find their respective classrooms and settle in.

"This time of year is always fun and exciting and I'm looking forward to starting up again," said Stephanie Burke, a fourth-grade teacher. She said the best part will be getting to know all her new students.

Teacher Angela Kingery was busy talking to her first-graders about how to get the teacher's attention if they need to use the restrooms as well as a tour of exactly where they were located.

Megan Risher, a Deer Creek first-grade teacher who previously spent 22 years at Metzger Elementary School, said she was looking forward to everything about the upcoming school year.

"I love teaching. It's my passion, making connections with the kids," she said.PMG PHOTO: RAY PITZ - First-grade teacher Angela Kingery chats with her students on the first day of school.


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