BACK TO SCHOOL

Thousands of students return to school in Alpine School District

Aug 17, 2022, 12:45 PM | Updated: 1:17 pm

OREM, Utah — The state’s largest school district—Alpine—was among many to open its doors Wednesday, welcoming tens of thousands of students back to the classroom. And one high school worked to make sure each student was seen.

More than an hour before Orem High School’s morning bell rang at 7:45 a.m, Carter Van Buren and his fellow student council members were on campus, blowing up a giant tiger head that would serve as the entrance for students’ first day back to school.

Around 7:20 a.m., students began trickling in, greeted by music and two lines of student body officers and cheerleaders who were high-fiving, cheering, and welcoming each student who passed.

Among the loud voices was Carter’s, who greeted many students by name and shouted “Good morning!” and “Welcome back!” to every group of students who passed through the tiger tunnel.

It’s a big year for seniors like Carter, who serves as the student body president.

“I’m really excited just to go head first and get right back into it,” he said.

Back to finishing off a high school career that—like most seniors across the state—has been plagued by interruptions during the global pandemic.

“The hope this time is just to get back into some normalcy,” he said. “And just kind of be here and have a schedule and just go at it.”

Orem High School cheerleaders getting ready to welcome their fellow students.

About 1,200 students will attend Orem high, just a handful of the 85,000 students Alpine School District expects at its 93 schools this year. The district has about 9,000 staff members, including 4,500 teachers.

They are still looking to fill positions like school bus drivers and cafeteria workers.

“I send my kids here because the teachers love my kids,” said parent Alisa Hardman.

Hardman said it’s a bittersweet time as her youngest daughter enters her senior year at Orem High School.

She also serves as the PTSA president. She said she’s seen many parents “checked out” recently and hopes they will want to get involved in their children’s education this year.

“Mainly, it’s just a chance for parents to feel like this is their school. Their place. That they belong, and they have a voice.”

Finding your voice also happens to be part of the school’s theme this year: Hear us roar. Find your voice.

“We think it’s a perfect theme,” Carter said. “To make everyone feel included, everyone, feel welcomed, and everyone just has a place here at Orem high.”

It’s a message Carter hopes all students will receive from the start and remember all year long.

“We have a lot planned. It’s going to be awesome.”

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Thousands of students return to school in Alpine School District