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story.lead_photo.caption First day: El Dorado School District Superintendent JIm Tucker attempts to corral El Dorado High School students as they jump with excitement on their first day back to school. Caleb Slinkard / News-Times

Tuesday morning, children around El Dorado rubbed the sleep from their eyes, put on their new backpacks and headed off to class.

El Dorado School District, along with Junction City and Parkers Chapel, kicked off the 2019-20 school year yesterday.

At Hugh Goodwin Elementary School, two El Dorado Fire Department vehicles welcomed students and warned drivers to slow down with their lights flashing. Parents took photos of their children with the school’s alligator mascot and with back to school display in front of the school as gifted and talented teacher Katie King opened car doors to greet students with a smile.

The the high school, teachers and administrators gathered between the two wings of the building to watch an El Dorado High School tradition: students, led by seniors, chanted and walked down the halls.

El Dorado School District Superintendent Jim Tucker was on had to watch the festivities. He said the first day of school is his favorite time of year.

“The first days are what we look forward to,” he said. “We love students, we love children. We love seeing them excited, and it’s our job to keep that excitement going throughout the school year.”

Tucker said he was looking forward to a positive year of growth for students.

“I hope every student has a wonderful experience this year. I hope they have an opportunity to learn a lot, build relationships with other students and build positive, professional relationships with their teachers,” he said. “I hope we’re able to do the same with the parents throughout the school year and that everything goes smoothly.”

Staff with the El Dorado Promise were also in elementary schools this morning, giving students Promise backpacks and letting kindergarteners know they will be eligible for the Promise when they graduate high school.

With the school year started, the district also wanted to remind drivers to be careful going through school zones, which have a 20 mile per hour speed limit. Cell phone usage, both texting and calling, is also prohibited in school zones.

Strong-Hutting and Smackover-Norphlet will begin their school year today.

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