JAY — Smiles, hugs and family togetherness was the norm for many as preparations for the first day of school got underway Aug. 30.

As the Livermore Falls Advertiser drove along Old Jay Hill Road in North Jay, at first nobody was seen outside along the side of the road. A second trip over the road found several children either waiting by themselves or not interested in having their picture taken.

Wednesday morning, Aug. 30, brothers Aidan at left and Silas Noll head from their home towards Old Jay Hill Road in North Jay to wait for the school bus. Dad Madison Ray Noll is seen in the background. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

The Noll family was the first to agree and two brothers had their pictures taken. A school bus with its lights flashing came up the road but it wasn’t for the boys. Rather, it was for brother Rhys who uses a wheelchair.

The bus driver opened a wider door on the side of the bus, lowered a special ramp, then the family and driver watched as Rhys made his way towards the bus. The ramp lifted up Rhys in his chair so he could back onto the bus, after which the ramp was lowered and the door secured. After waves from his family, the bus headed down the street to pick up more special needs students.

At another house on the road, a gray cat accompanied his family while waiting for the bus. Mom Kim McDermott said Lucky always waits with her children, eight grade student Madison Martin and fifth grader Jacob Martin. The inquisitive cat checked out the new person in the driveway before heading back towards the children.

Jacob Martin at left and his sister Madison wait for the school bus Wednesday morning, Aug. 30, in North Jay. Their cat Lucky always waits with them, mom Kim McDermott at right said. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Several members of a blended family waited next to the mailbox at another residence on the road. Smiles and lots of hugs were shared as the lights of the school bus were seen approaching.


Bella Stanley of Livermore Falls is seen Wednesday morning, Aug. 30, while waiting for the school bus with family members in Jay. She is a kindergarten student at Spruce Mountain Primary School in Livermore. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

At Spruce Mountain High School, principal TJ Plourde greeted students as they made their way towards the school doors from the bus drop off at the middle school.

“Things are going great,” he said. “The ninth grade students had a great orientation yesterday. The students were happy, they had time to socialize. Students this morning will have an assembly first thing, then go directly to their classes, meet their teachers.”

One student had no comment when Plourde asked her how things would be at the school now that her sister was a student there too. Other students fist-bumped, waved or greeted Plourde in other ways.

At the elementary school, buses dropped students off at the main entrance while other students used the back one. The change implemented a few years ago makes it safer for everyone.

Physical education teacher Jane DiPompo greeted students at the front door, was there to stop the bus from leaving when a first grade student got off at the wrong school.

There had been about five students so far, she said. It takes the bus drivers time to recognize the children, some families are new to the school district, she noted.

Third grade student Paisley Frechette is hugged by her parents Devon Young at left and Scott Frechette Wednesday morning, Aug. 30, on her first day of school at Spruce Mountain Elementary School in Jay. The family lives in Jay. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Later in the morning parents may drop their children off at the front door. Hugs were the order of the day before one student made her way inside.

A few light sprinkles were felt during this time, but the rain actually held off until later in the day. It was a welcome change from the first day of school last year when it rained steadily creating the need for umbrellas or other ways of staying dry.

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