History made in Port Neches and Groves with opening of new schools

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, September 6, 2023

PORT NECHES — When River and Rebel Garcia arrived for their first day of classes at Port Neches Primary, they were met with excited teachers and staff members.

The same can be said when Rachael Yarbrough brought her daughter to the school.

She said the principal and staff were outside greeting all the children, and they had fun music playing for the students.

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Yarbrough was able to walk her daughter to class, adding her daughter was very excited to go to school.

Carrie Garcia said she is thrilled the parking lot was expanded so she and her husband, Jesse, weren’t worried about having to find a spot and rush in.

She said teachers and staff members seemed just as excited as they were, and everyone greeted them and smiled.

Garcia also loved all the touches of color in the windows, tile and flooring, she said.

Her daughter, River, who is in the second grade was a little nervous Tuesday morning but that changed.

“She playfully followed along a swirl of green circles on the ground and that helped set my heart at ease knowing that she seemed to like her new environment,” Carrie Garcia said. “We are looking forward to an incredible and exciting new school year.”

Her younger daughter Rebel is in kindergarten.

Port Neches Primary School Principal Kevin Schexnaider echoed the parents in saying there is a lot of excitement.

“Everything is going fantastic, lots of excitement. Obviously this is the first day of school and there was a delay,” Schexnaider said. “The excitement from the kids and parents was phenomenal. We could not have had a better start.”

Close to 600 students attend Port Neches Primary School, which is a mix of the former Ridgewood and Woodcrest elementary schools.

Port Neches-Groves Independent School District Assistant Superintendent Julie Gauthier said history was made Tuesday as the district opened the final two of the four new schools built with the 2019 bond.

“What an incredible thing for our community in Port Neches and Groves to see your youngest, Pre-K to second grades, enter the buildings that we have been planning and worked so hard to build for them,” Gauthier said.

The opening of Port Neches and Groves primary schools was pushed back twice due to a delay in construction.

Gauthier said the district is sorry there was a 12-day delay in opening the schools.

“We appreciate the community’s patience,” she said.