Merced County Times Newspaper
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Young Merced students return to school in style 

Times Photos by Brittany Miller

Students at Luther Burbank Elementary received the celebrity treatment as they began the 2023-24 school year on Wednesday morning. Students walked a red carpet that faculty prepared as they said farewell to summer, with parents waving them on.

Luther Burbank is one of 20 schools in the Merced City School District that resumed classes this week. The school district carries the weight of educating nearly 12,000 students. Luther Burbank Elementary has 741 of those students, about 100 of which are kindergarteners entering school for the first time.

“We just wanted to really make students feel welcome this year, like we’re rolling out the red carpet,” Principal Jill Settera said as she ushered in students. “We’re so excited for them to be here, and to just have a super super terrific amazing awesome year.”

Parents lined up to take photos of their children in front of a backdrop put up by the school before walking — or running — the red carpet. Excitement for the new school year was shared by families and staff alike. 

Laura Ruell, who has one son in second grade and another entering kindergarten, was optimistic.

“He’s excited,” said Ruell of her younger son. “It’s his first year being at school with his big brother, so we’re thankful for that. We’re excited to make new friends, play on the playground, and have a good year.”

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