St. Peter celebrates back to school night
A stream of water hosed down passers-by as a little boy, about 4 years old, giggled hysterically.
"Let me try," piped up another boy, who promptly turned the water cannon back on the water slide as other children raced down the incline to a small pool of water at the bottom.
Then with a devilish grin, he turns the cannon back into the face of his friend, the first boy, who scampers off and gets in line for his turn to come down the slide.
Just 20 feet away, in a bounce house, children shriek and laugh as St. Peter's janitor takes a moment of preemptive revenge with a water hose.
"You can tell the first-time parents from the experienced ones," said Sherri Ulbrich, president of the St. Peter school board. "They make the kids get all the papers inside before getting near the water."
It is St. Peter's welcome back to school. Students and parents bring their school supplies, find classrooms and meet the teachers.
Six-year-old Colton Hunter grinned from ear to ear after being shown his desk in Dodi Dierking's classroom. His school supplies got piled on the small space and he and his brother gave Dierking a present.
"What is it?" Dierking asked, kneeling down and gently picking at the wrapping. "Can you help me unwrap it?"
Colton started assisting Dierking with the wrapping and said, "It's soap."
"Soap? Do I stink?" Dierking responded with mock surprise and more than a little playfulness.
"No," Colton said before smiling and unwrapping more of the present.
Dierking turned her attention to the card.
"I'm impressed with your writing," she said.
Colton turned red and his mother, Jeana Wise said, "He's been so excited. Every day he asked if he could go to school today."
St. Peter is enjoying growing attendance. Principal Gary Littrell said 194 students are attending the pre-k-through-8 school this year.
"You can't go wrong with kids and water," Littrell said. "This is great. It gives everybody a chance to get settled before classes start on Wednesday."
Ulbrich agrees. "It has eased the transition back into the school year."
The students swarmed over the school, bringing papers and school supplies to their desks. Then they returned outside to pulled pork sandwiches and games.
The result of the evening's activities, words every parent wants to hear when going home from school:
"Mom, can we stay. I don't want to go yet."
However, in this case, the little boy was outfitted with a devilish grin and a water cannon.
Contact Pat Nolan at