Schools literally roll out the red carpet on the first day of classes

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Elementary students in Portsmouth entered school for the first day of the new year on Tuesday to a warm welcome.

A line of people, including the Police Chief Tonya Chapman and Vice Mayor Elizabeth Psimas waved and passed out candy at Park View Elementary.

It's the fourth year in a row school board member Cardell Patillo held a meet-and-greet for students.

"We know some of our kids are getting past the summer slump and summer slide," he said. "We just want to make sure they have a fresh start to a new school year."

Over on Portsmouth Boulevard, Brighton Elementary literally rolled out the red carpet and even brought in a limo for students to take pictures with.

"This is all for them," said Paul Wilson Jr., Principal. "I have my chance to really make a difference while they're young. Get them excited about reading, get them excited about education and keep that excitement as they move forward."

It's Wilson's first year as principal after working as an Asst. Principal at I.C. Norcom High School. He's calling this year Brighton's "Year of Transformation".

"It gives [the students] a great start because they see the community involved, welcoming them back to school, telling them, 'have a great year', so it's exciting for them," said Dr. Elie Bracy, Superintendent for Portsmouth Public Schools.

Wilson says the next step in the Year of Transformation is getting all students started on reading the same book.

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