New principal meets and greets at Old Hammondtown open house

Students, teachers reflect on first weeks in school
Sep 12, 2022

MATTAPOISETT — “The school year is going great, we’re off to a terrific start,” said Kevin Tavares, who assumed the role of principal at Old Hammondtown Elementary School after serving in the district for 29 years. 

Tavares along with other staff greeted students and families during the school’s first open house of the year on Thursday, Sept. 8. 

When he wasn’t shaking hands with parents or high-fiving students, Tavares explained that his previous position as associate principal at both of the town’s elementary schools prepared him well for the job.

“I had a lot of practice with Mrs. [Rose] Bowman so the transition over to principal has been pretty smooth,” said Tavares, who said that he worked for 20 years at Old Hammondtown alone.

Bowman retired earlier this year after serving as principal of Center School and Old Hammondtown School for 35 years. 

Outside of his experience on the job, Tavares has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Bridgewater State University and a master’s degree in education in leadership and administration from Fitchburg State University.

“There have been a few bumps but there's a great staff here and they’ve helped me along,” he said. 

And the school’s staff went all out for the night’s open house, with some setting up activities such as scavenger hunts for students and parents. 

For many teachers, this year marked a transition back to normalcy after covid restrictions hampered normal school activity. 

“It's nice to not have masks, it’s pretty normal,” said Colleen Johns, who runs the school library. “I love it and I hope it stays that way.”

Brent Alger, who teaches band for students in fourth through sixth grade, said that school seems “more social this year,” adding that in previous years it was hard to teach instruments to children with masks on. 

For fifth grade teacher Amy Casi, her favorite part of open house nights are “getting to know all [her] students,” she said. “They’re lovely, I really like them.”

Even students at Old Hammondtown were excited about the new school year — and all the changes that it brings. 

Eleven-year-olds Charlotte Mello and Maiten Tavares, both in 6th grade, were making the rounds and visiting favorite teachers while their parents toured classrooms. 

“I like switching classes,” said Mello, explaining what she likes about the new school year. “You can experience how different teachers do stuff.” 

Meanwhile, Aubrey Beauregard, 9, said that her favorite part of coming back to school was math class. 

“I like dividing,” she said. 

Tavares said that nights like these “bring everybody into the school, not only students and their guardians, but their family members too. It’s a true open house.”