Thousands of students across southwestern Saskatchewan made the much-anticipated return to school today.

About 250-260 of the students are enrolled at Swift Current's Central School where they'll be greeted by staff eager to help shape the children's future.

"We're so excited for the return of our students and their families," Jared Wipf, the principal of Central School, said. "We know that another year of learning, relationship building, and fun awaits."

The school will host a welcome-back assembly at the end of the school day to introduce all the staff to the returning and new students.

While today was the first day of the school year for most, teachers and educational assistants have been hard at work since the start of last week preparing for the big day.

A new student registration day for the Chinook School Division last Monday kicked the groundwork off followed by Central School's opening day on Tuesday.

"This day was marked by team building with our whole staff," he said. "It was an opportunity to re-connect and get to know new team members here at Central... On this day we revisited some of our school-level focuses and priorities."

Wednesday was Chinook's opening day and was a professional development day for all teachers and support staff held at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School. 

"This day was special because it gave teachers and administrators from other schools an opportunity to connect with one another and network," he said.   

A professional learning community day was held on Thursday and the week was finished off on Friday with a preparation day that allowed teachers time to set up their classrooms.

Wipf also relishes the chance to work at Central School, which first opened in the fall of 1914 and has seen countless students and renovations since.

"It's pretty special," he said. "We have community members and alumni come and visit us at all times throughout the year requesting tours and visiting their old classrooms. Being a heritage site, it's pretty special to be a part of this school and such an important landmark within the city of Swift Current."   

In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, Swift Current Online encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the Swift Current Online app.