HERMISTON - Students got a drop on the first day of school during West Park Elementary School's "Meet the Teacher" session Wednesday.

For one hour parents and students dropped by West Park to meet the teachers and staff, put money on lunch accounts, tour the classroom and stash supplies in their new desks. This is the third year West Park has sponsored the program the day before the school official opens its doors.

Tammy Ashbeck, West Park Elementary principal, greeted students and pointed them in the right direction, answered questions and took time to put a few new students at ease.

"It helps relieve first day anxiety," Ashbeck said."Parents don't have to wait in long, long lines tomorrow to put money on lunch accounts. It guarantees parents time to visit with teachers. And we have a better idea who is going to be here."

West Park has five new classroom teachers and one new physical education teacher on staff this year, so they have a chance to meet students and get acquainted with their students.

Kevin Hamblin, student teacher in Nellie Stalford's second grade class, greeted students at the door to show them around the classroom.

"They can get used to the classroom and we can show them the important things, like where the bathrooms are," Hamblin said. "It's neat finally seeing the kids faces. That's why we are here. Look at these faces, they are excited to be back."

Ivan Nava, 8, waited patiently to see Stalford's room. He had all his supplies ready to store in his desk and his favorite back to school item, his new Shrek backpack.,

For new students, Meet the Teacher day alleviates the stress of not knowing where to go during the first-day rush. Gretchan Anderholm, third grade teacher, greeted six students during the first half hour, and one new student, eight-year old Alberto Godinez. Godinez is new to the area and only has two "buddies," both who go to West Park. Ernesto Barrera, second grade, and his brother Lalo Barrera, kindergarten, showed their friend around the school.

"I met a lot of smiling parents today," Anderholm said. "Some were bouncing out the door. We shake their hands, let them put their supplies in their desks, mark the supplies that need it and show them where they will sit tomorrow. They meet me and then it isn't nearly so intimidating tomorrow."

Mary Gorham moved up from second grade to third with her class this year and is keeping 19-20 students with her, but will have a few new faces in her room. She thinks the day is nice for all students, but especially for the new students.

"You can see the relief on their faces when they see just one person they know," Gorham said. "They will know my face and be more confident. Parents get to talk to teachers, it allows more attention for everybody."

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