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With new school supplies placed in colorful backpacks, hugs goodbye from parents and waves hello from friends they hadn’t seen in months, students started their first day of the new school year on Tuesday.

Kindergarteners entered Lincoln Elementary, some visibly nervous while others were excited. The first and second graders acted more aloof. Younger siblings observed quietly, some about to experience first days themselves.

“We’re geared up for the 2019-20 school year, and we’re ready to go,” Beatrice Public Schools Superintendent Jason Alexander said. “We’re excited to have all the kids back.”

After meeting their teachers and seeing their classrooms, some students started their day by coloring, while others read a book.

Alexander said that to help create unity within the district, everybody is invited to read ‘Who Moved my Cheese?’ by Dr. Spencer Johnson.

The book follows two mice looking for cheese in a maze, and is a parable about change. Alexander said the books will be used in the schools’ professional learning communities starting in September.

“It’s a short read, but a very effective read,” Alexander said.

While the Kindergarten through ninth grade students had a half day, the upper and underclassmen experienced a few more hours of summer.

The first day for grades 10-12 is Wednesday, Aug. 14, and preschool starts Thursday, Aug. 15.

Summer vacation starts in 283 days.

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