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      Jump Start Day kicks off school year

      Columbia Public Schools officially open tomorrow.

      However, secondary students had the chance to go to their schools one day early as part of a new program called Jump Start Day.

      It was a day of fun activities and a chance for students to meet their new teachers.

      Columbia middle school and high school students had orientation activities and ran through their schedules to ease the transition to a new building as part of Jump Start Day. Students at West Middle School were also entertained by their new teachers.

      West Middle School teachers did a mob dance for their students as part of an all school assembly on Jump Start Day. The students also met their Viking mascots and enjoyed the schoolâ??s new air conditioning on this voluntary attendance day.

      Principal Dr. Connie Dewey said, â??Weâ??ve had a great celebration today. We shared pizza together. Now, we are having an assembly to kind of learn the school song and teach them about Victor and Victoria Viking.â??

      The middle school mascots led sixth, seventh and eighth graders in a school spirit contest. Columbia no longer has any junior high schools with eighth and ninth graders. This year, ninth graders are going to class at Columbia high schools.

      Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said, â??I donâ??t think we could have thought of one more thing to change for this coming school year. We have new boundaries. We have new buildings. We have new start times. We have new grade configuration. Just about everything about this year is going to be new.â??

      Beginning tomorrow on the first official day of school, bus drivers will use a new three tier bus system with new start times and new routes. First Student bus company operators will be standing by to answer any questions and report any problems. To get assistance, you can call First Student in Columbia at 573-474-9473.

      Columbia police want to remind you to slow down in school zones as students return to their classes.