First day of school for Mon and Preston County students

MORGANTOWN — David Cottrell was a (temporary) kid Tuesday morning as he roamed the halls of Clay-Battelle.

Cottrell is principal of the combination middle and high school in Blacksville, and he was there early to greet Cee-Bees shuffling in for their first day of school.

There were close to 400 of them in the school on this morning, he said.

Clay-Battelle, which houses grades 6-12, is a destination in this town in western Monongalia County — and not just during football games or parent-teacher nights, the principal said.

“This school has always been a community center,” he said, and he should know.

He grew up in the Blacksville area and is a graduate. His parents started out as high school sweethearts in the same hallway he was patrolling Tuesday morning.

He jumped at the chance to return to his alma mater after his career in education took him out of the region for a time.

The principal was jumping again on Tuesday morning.

Internally, he said, with a chuckle.

“I always get excited for the first day. I’m like a kid.”

Across Monongalia, roughly 13,000 students made their way to their respective schools on the Tuesday that saw spates of rain in the afternoon.

Enrollment numbers for the year won’t be final until the official count in October, Mon Schools Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. told The Dominion Post previously.

Campbell has been a high school principal in Alaska and a school sup-erintendent in Tucker County.

No matter the locale, he said, his First Day routine is always the same: He checks with the district transportation director to make sure every kid who rides the bus is accounted for — which Jeff Meadows was happy to report in the affirmative Tuesday.

Meadows is a former principal in the county who now serves as transportation assistant to the superintendent.

“We had a couple of kids get on the wrong buses,” he said, Tuesday afternoon.

“We had a couple of kids miss their stops. You’ll have that. But we got it all ironed out. We got ‘em all home safe. Our drivers are great.”

In neighboring Preston County, students also returned to school.

Superintendent Steve Wotring spent the day roaming hallways himself, as he visited several schools to chat with students and teachers.

“No problems,” he said. “Everything went well. I think everyone was glad to be back.”

Meanwhile, Thursday is the first day of school for kindergarteners in Mon and Preston.

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