FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Whitley County students returned to the classroom Wednesday, August 17th, and everyone including the teachers and staff, are excited to get the year started.

Columbia City High School is one of the last high schools to go back, you couldn’t tell they were disappointed to go back from all of the smiling faces when arriving to the school.

Students immediately saw friends and reconnected, and anxiously waiting to get in the building. Some students were there 30 minutes before the doors were open.

Faculty and staff were just as excited to welcome back the students. When asked to talk about their excitement, staff was quick to say this will be the closest thing they’ve had to a “normal” year in 3 years.

Superintendent Laura McDermott said the following:

“We are ready. We have been working and planning all summer. We have a stellar administrative team. They’ve been working all summer on their strategic plan, so we’re ready to go!”

New this year for Whitley County Consolidated School is a Montessori magnet program lead by director Monica Ralston. It is a program starting with 3-6 year olds. It is meant to get them engaged at an early age inside the classroom and interact with others.

The principal of the high school Braden Mullet was also on hand and excited to get the students in the building. You can hear what he had to say below.

With a shortage in bus drivers in some counties, transportation director Rhonda Snavley says she is fully staffed and ready to get kids to and from school safely.

This year, they have reached out to parents and have let them know where they will be picking up their child. This is something that is new and hopes this will work for the upcoming school year.