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Oklahoma City's Cesar Chavez Elementary School wraps up its first year

Cesar Chavez Elementary School opened Aug. 1, and students and staff wrapped up their first year in the building this week.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Published: May 31, 2012

A boy with black spiky hair darted in front of Laura Morris.

“Dr. Morris!” he gasped, breathless with excitement. “Look at my beard and mustache!”

The principal of Cesar Chavez Elementary School patted her student on the back and congratulated him on his excellent choice of face paint.

Thursday marks the end of the school year for Oklahoma City Public Schools and the end of the first year at Cesar Chavez, 600 SE Grand.

Students at the district's newest school marked the end of the year outdoors with field days, eating snacks, playing musical chairs and painting their faces with butterflies, mustaches and clown noses.

“We had an awesome year,” Morris said.

Chavez was a $9.7 million project, part of the $700 million MAPS for Kids initiative. The last new elementary school was Martin Luther King Elementary School, which opened five years earlier.

District officials expected about 650 students, but nearly 900 showed up. The school board adjusted Chavez's boundary lines to help relieve the pressure and send more students to surrounding elementary schools.

Some new students had to go to Capitol Hill Elementary School.

“There was no room for more,” Morris said. “We just didn't expect that many kids.”

Morris hired two extra kindergarten teachers, a second-grade teacher and a sixth-grade teacher. In January, she hired three more teachers for kindergarten, first grade and second grade.

“Kids love being here,” she said. “It's always noisy. They're always busy.”

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