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SOUCHERAY: A new school year is here

School started for Woodbury-area public schools this week and you likely saw some evidence of this as you moved about the community. You probably saw a group of kids at the bus stop, if you were up early going to work. Perhaps you waited behind a school bus with its stop sign extended as its passengers boarded. Or maybe you were one of the parents who hustled around, getting your brood out the door for their first day of a new year. Whatever this week held for you, everyone in Woodbury who was out and about was likely affected in some way by this change.

A change in the seasons affects all of us, some more than others. The start of school, equally will affect all of us, and again, some more than others. As we begin this new year, however, we can be aware of what these changes will require of us.

For those families who have young people back in school, the days just got busier for you. They may have gotten shorter, as well, for now you realize you need 26 hours each day, rather than the standard 24, to get everything done. You probably have multiple children to awaken and get ready for school. You have lunches to pack, breakfasts to serve, and yourself to get ready for the day, or for work yourself.

For the children, you have sleep to wipe from your eyes, a new set of shoes and clothes to fit into and a new classroom, friends and teacher to get to know.

For Woodbury families who do not have children starting the new school year, you have a school bus on the corner you will have to navigate, children to be aware of at the bus stop and longer waits at stop lights all over town.

Whatever and however this change affects you, we all have to aware of our part in making this shift a successful one, both for ourselves and our community.

So what can we do to help this transition occur more smoothly? If we are parents getting our kids off to school, we can be sure we have milk in the refrigerator if the kids are eating breakfast at home. We can also see that they have their backpacks ready and waiting at the back door the evening before so there is less hassle at the time of departure in the morning.

If you are a young person starting school this week, you can be sure you get enough sleep, food and study time. These will all be choices you will have to make, and as you get older, more responsibility for making good choices will rest on you. You will be the one who has to turn off the TV, leave your phone in the kitchen so you are not texting your friends all night and be sure your homework is done for the next day.

It will be your responsibility to use your planner and write in all your assignments. You will be responsible for being on task at school, at home and on the soccer field.

This can be a lot to think about. So make good decisions and do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. Make it a personal motto not to procrastinate because that only makes things worse later in the day or the week.

If you are a citizen of Woodbury, whether you have kids in school or not, you have been affected by the changes that have taken place in our city this week. Be sure to give yourself a little extra time to get where you are going because there will be more cars on the road now that school is in session again.

Be sure to stop for the school bus when the stop arm is extended. It's not only the law, it also keeps children safe.

Know the release time at the school buildings nearest you and be aware that there will be many children heading home at that time. There will be crossing guards to control traffic, so you may want to choose an alternate route if you must be on the road at that time.

When we all do our part, the beginning of this new school year will be safe and smooth. Our community will continue to celebrate its excellent marks in education and our focus will, as always, be on healthy, happy kids.

Kate Soucheray is a Woodbury resident.