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It may have been pouring down rain this morning, but that didn’t dampen spirits for the first day of school at Old Mission Peninsula School (OMPS), which opened officially as a charter school this morning.

Amidst the rain, volunteers, teachers and administrative staff cheerily welcomed students into the school, where they checked in at a desk in the lobby and lined up with their new teachers in the gym.

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Students line up in the OMPS Gym for the first day of school; Sept. 4, 2018 | Jane Boursaw Photo

Today marks a new beginning for OMPS after it was marked for closure by the Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) in 2015.

Much has happened in the intervening years. The Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation (OMPEF) was formed to maintain and enhance education on the Old Mission Peninsula, and a fundraising campaign ensued (and continues) to keep the school open.

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Volunteer Wendy Warren helps a student in for the first day of school at OMPS; Sept. 4, 2018 | Jane Boursaw Photo

An agreement was reached in January 2017 for OMPEF to purchase the school from TCAPS for $1.1 million. OMPEF secured the building, property and contents in April 2017, received charter authorization from Grand Valley State University for a new school in July 2017, and took occupancy of the school building on July 1, 2018.

Along with offering classes from Kindergarten through 6th Grade, OMPS is also collaborating with Angel Care Preschool and Child Care for infants aged 8 weeks through Pre-K.

Also, BATA began offering a brand new route, Route 16, which services not only OMPS, but also community residents of the Old Mission Peninsula.

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BATA marks new Route 16 for first day of school at OMPS; Sept. 4, 2018 | Jane Boursaw Photo

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A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

Bay View Insurance of Traverse City Michigan

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