Ottumwa students hit the books, head back to school

Students at Evans Middle School, and across Ottumwa, went back to school Wednesday.

Wednesday marked the first day of school for students across Ottumwa, and at Evans Middle School, things got off to a great start.

Evans Principal Dave Harper said he spoke with students at lunchtime and they seemed enthusiastic and ready to be back in school for a new year.

Former principal Dan Maeder accepted the superintendent position in Davis County in the interim, so it's Harper's first year as principal at Evans. What was he most excited for?

"Meeting the kids," he said. "I've met community members, toured the facility - tremendous facility - the staff we've had since last Thursday, tremendous staff here at Evans Middle School, and I was really excited just to get to know the kids and so far I've met tremendous, outstanding students and parents this morning as they were dropping off students."

Harper said drop-off was actually the one hiccup of the day, as construction is still ongoing on Chester Street. The area where crews are currently working on the sewer separation project is where buses and parents usually drop kids off in the mornings. There was a bit of confusion and traffic that was to be expected on the first day back, but Harper said they worked around the street closures and things should get easier as the school year progresses.

The construction is scheduled to be completed in the next few weeks.

Otherwise, Evans is gearing up for all the activities a new school year brings, such as its annual Veteran's Day ceremony and a kick-off of the sports season. They are also beginning new ceremonies this year, which will honor students for achievements inside and outside the classroom after each quarter.