Save the date
A calendar in shape of an apple reads the date for the first day of school inside pre-K4 teacher Kara Spencer's classroom in Meadows Elementary School at Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 15. (Photo Credit: Eric Franklin, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas - Youth from this sprawling Central Texas post returned to school for the 2022-2023 academic year, including the more than 800 children who attend Meadows Elementary School here, Aug. 15.

“It’s awesome to start a new school year and see everybody with their big back-to-school smiles ready to go, ready to learn and hit the ground running,” said MES Principal Julie Sims. “Teachers have been working hard to prepare for that and we’re really excited for all of the great things that are going to happen this year.”

Many children were attending class for the first time and some tears were shed when their parents had to leave them. However, Kara Spencer, a pre-K4 teacher at MES, met the hesitant kids with a smile and made them feel right at home in her classroom.

“I’m super excited. We’re ready to have a great, great year,” she said.

She enjoys teaching Pre-K4 kids because she loves watching them learn new things and is excited to see their growth over the coming school year.

“It’s just watching them learn a whole bunch of new things. They kind of come in as a blank slate, and then just teaching them everything that they need to know to have a good foundation,” she said. “I hope that by the end of the year, they know all of their ABCs, they can write their name and that they are independent little people ready for kindergarten.”

Welcome to school
Tabatha Lemacks speaks to her 5th grade class on the first day of school in Meadows Elementary School at Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 15. "I can't even explain it in words. I haven't been able to sleep the last couple of nights because I've been anxious to see the kids," she said. (Photo Credit: Eric Franklin, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

Though the little ones are being introduced to school for the first time, some of the older students can also have reason for hesitancy when it comes to a new school year. Whether it’s adjusting to more advanced curriculum or a new school due to their parent’s change of station, they have their own challenges to face and 5th grade teacher Tabatha Lemacks is prepared to lead them in the right direction.

“I can’t even explain it in words. I haven’t been able to sleep the last couple of nights because I’ve been so anxious to see the kids,” she said. “It’s one of my favorite things ... getting to welcome the brand-new students and being able to be a positive impact to the kids and hoping that they’re have the best last year of elementary school.”

Lemacks loves helping her 5th graders become more confident in their abilities and hopes to grow their passion for learning.

“Watching them, from day one, growing into achieving things that they think that they couldn’t do. I had students always say that math is their worst subject, and by the end of the year, it’s their favorite. Seeing them love to learn is one of my favorite things,” she said. “My goal is that every student grows in learning and that they find the love of learning and want to continue to learn as they go.”

Sims said they’re excited to contribute to the educational and emotional growth of part of Fort Hood’s youth, and they couldn’t do it without all of the support from the community.

“We’re really appreciative to be here on post and (to have) the support of the military, the support of the parents, the support of just everyone within the system to keep kids educated and safe,” she said. “They’re so welcoming and we really love being here and appreciate all the support.”