Pinewood Prep rolls out the red carpet for students' first day

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- Pinewood Prep parents turned into paparazzi as students walked the red carpet to the premier of a new school year Thursday morning.

Every year, the school's high school and middle school government leaders, teachers and staff roll out a red carpet and welcome students to their first day of class to build excitement for the first day back to school.

"This is our sixth year of rolling out the red carpet," said Elizabeth Martin, the English teacher who helped the high school and middle school student governments launch the idea. "Our upper school students wanted a way to welcome the lower school students and get them excited about the first day of school. Their idea demonstrates the family atmosphere we have at Pinewood, and is a unique way that we celebrate the important milestone of the first day of school."

As students walked up the short red-covered walkway, their classmates celebrated with shouts of 'woo,' 'yay' and clapping noisemakers. Some students smiled and sashayed. Others covered their ears and hurried by.

This was Steve Mandell's first year at the red carpet and his first year as the head of Pinewood Prep.

"The red carpet represents something real special. Number one, it represents the first day of school which we're all excited about," Mandell said. "But it also represents how our older students and younger students are part of the same school family because our younger students are welcomed back by either middle school students or upper school students. So that's real special for us in terms of how our school community lives and learns together."

Pinewood officials say they are welcoming over 730 students this year, ranging from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade and that nearly 30 students from a dozen countries will be studying on campus this year.