It was 8:00 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, and the sounds of drums filled the air in Culver City.

Students were welcomed back to Culver City High School (CCHS), Culver City Middle School, and Farragut Elementary School on Wednesday morning in style as students celebrated the start of the new school year. School Board Members Triston Ezidore, Stephanie Loredo, and Brian Guerrero were in attendance to talk with parents and students at each of the schools.

CCHS’s welcoming party was led by the band and cheerleading squad performing just outside the school’s front entrance. At the entrance itself, students were lined up on both sides of the entrance, holding signs with simple sentiments like “Welcome Back” written on them.

At the middle school, a simple painted sign that read “Panthers first day 2023-24” was posted just beside the main entrance. As kids gathered preparing to enter the school for the first time this year, a voice rang on the intercom welcoming students back and wishing them a great first day.

Farragut Elementary also had a large crowd at its main entrance, where plastic letters spelling “Welcome Back” stood next to the permanent stone sign on the school’s front lawn. Parents and kids gathered before the schools were open, and a stand of shirts related to the school was set up for people to buy.

After stopping by each of these events and speaking with parents, the three board members also stopped by Culver Park High School, which is set up in the parking lot behind Farragut. The two took a brief tour of the small campus and one of the classrooms. There, they spoke with teachers and administrators at the school and asked questions about its operations.

Following their stop at Culver Park, the board members returned to the front lawn of Farragut, where a PTA gathering was being held. Coffee was served and tables were laid out for parents to sign up as room representatives for their children’s classes.

Loredo spoke in front of the crowd at this gathering, talking about the importance of the faculty and staff that work at the school, and said they will help students at Farragut achieve great things this school year.

“Please remember to thank your teachers and your staff members, because without them, we cannot establish this wonderful place of welcoming and belonging for our students,” she said

Guerrero also took time to address the crowd, thanking them for the support of the PTA and of the first-day gatherings. He commended parents on their efforts to be involved with their children’s schooling and urged them to continue to find ways to maintain their involvement.

“Please, please, please stay involved,” Guerrero said. “Your involvement is crucial for this, and your kids will love seeing you around.”

Ezidore reflected on his own time as a Culver City student following the gathering and noted that leadership changes — such as the sudden departure of superintendent Quoc Tran on Aug. 15, and the hiring of interim superintendent Dr. Steven Keller just four days later — wouldn’t damper the mood at school.

“This is a very important day for me on a personal level because I got my start in Culver City at the high school just a few years ago, so it’s really a full circle moment for me welcoming kids back.” Ezidore said, “I think [this] is going to be the best year yet…the temperature and the environment on campus is fresh and new and exciting.”

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