EASTERN HANCOCK — The drop-off lines at Eastern Hancock schools were a little longer than normal on Wednesday morning when students returned to classes to kick off the 2022-23 school year thanks to dozens of new transfer students and larger-than-normal enrollment numbers.

Eastern Hancock students are the last in the county to head back to classes, with Mt. Vernon students starting last week and Greenfield-Central and Southern Hancock students starting yesterday.

Eastern Hancock middle and high school principal Adam Barton began his 29th school year in education as either a teacher or an administrator Wednesday morning and admitted even he still gets a little nervous for a school year.

“Oh, yeah, I still get that first day feeling — that nervousness to get things going, even after all of these years,” Barton said. “We like to get that summertime break, but it’s always good to be back on a schedule.”

Barton noted the day got off to an excellent start, even though they had those normal first day glitches of making sure everyone could get into their locker and get their computer up and working.

“The morning is going great with everybody working and where they are supposed to be,” Barton said.

Over at Eastern Hancock Elementary, principal Amanda Pyle said their day got off to a great start with lots of hugs and smiles.

“We didn’t even have any tears in kindergarten, which is pretty amazing,” Pyle said. “It’s always hard for little kids to get back into that routine, but we’re all excited to be back.”

All elementary-aged students were in their rooms and ready for learning by 8:19 a.m., just a few minutes past the 8:10 a.m. normal start.

“It’s been a pretty good first day so far,” Pyle said. “I do always get that excitement and nervousness.”

For the district’s principals, it’s all about making sure everyone is safer and comfortable in their classrooms and prepared to learn the new lessons.

“We want all our kids to come into the building and feel welcomed and safe,” Pyle said. “That’s where the nerves come in. You want everyone to be where they are supposed to be, safe and taken care of.”

Having a normal start to the school year with no masks or COVID restricts is also a plus, the administrators said.

Superintendent George Philhower welcomed his staff back Monday, Aug. 1 with a “staff day” full of activities, including a corn hole tournament, lunch and a message from a special speaker, Buddy Berry, a superintendent from Eminence Independent Schools in Kentucky.

“I wanted our staff to hear a different voice with a different message,” Philhower said. “They hear from me every day.”

Philhower noted this year’s theme is “Treasure.” He’s always working to help make sure their educators, staff and students are eager to want to be at Eastern Hancock schools.

“Our goal this year is to help everyone find their treasure, especially our kids,” Philhower said. “We’re defining our treasures as our four priorities: joy, connection, growth and success.”

Philhower noted the start of a new school year is always an exciting time.

“You’ve got teachers scurrying about and kids excited to be back in school,” Philhower said. “Our goal is for them to be as excited on the last day of classes as they are on that first day of school.”

He also wanted to remind everyone associated with the district to always show grace and patience throughout the course of the new school year.

“We continue to appreciate as much grace and patience as you will be willing to grant us as we do our best to make sure our kids have the best experience at school as possible,” Philhower said.