Most Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools students started back to school Wednesday, Aug. 17, but high school sophomores, juniors and seniors return Thursday, Aug. 18.

Most Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools students started back to school Wednesday, Aug. 17, but high school sophomores, juniors and seniors return Thursday, Aug. 18.

"We are excited about the start of the new school year,"said Bobby Dodd, high school principal. "We have approximately 2,400 students enrolled and 28 new staff members we are welcoming to our family at Lincoln High School."

This year, he said, the high school will have new digital signs throughout both the main building and Clark Hall, allowing staff members, students and families to stay up to date on the school's happenings.

"We are also excited about our new Career Connections classes we are offering to our students which will provide them with an exploratory view of 16 career clusters, including our successful career-center programs at Clark Hall in engineering, health science and education," Dodd said.

Marching band ready for fall season

High school band director Rob Cebriak said the 192-member Golden Lions Marching Band is preparing shows to entertain its audiences this fall season.

"With six home football games this year, we've had a lot of music to prepare, but the students have been outstanding," he said. "We have fantastic high school musicians, and they have worked very hard."

The marching band's eight-day camp, involving five hours of daily rehearsal and drills, finished Aug. 11 at the high school.

The first show of the season Aug. 26 is called "The Kings" and features the music of Elvis Presley, Harry Belafonte and B.B. King. The next week's show also uses "The Kings" as a theme and includes music by James Brown and Michael Jackson, Cebriak said.

In week 3, he said, the band turns to selections from the musical, "Les Miserables," and concludes that theme in week 5. The band will combine both of the "Les Miserables" shows into one festival show for its performance at the Logan Festival of Bands at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1.

The alumni show will be at the homecoming game Oct. 7, when marching band alumni are encouraged to join the Golden Lions for the show. Music rehearsal will begin in the stadium at 5 p.m. that evening, with the boosters providing dinner to the alumni afterward.

Music will be posted on the band's website,, next month.

Those needing to reserve a school instrument should call Cebriak at 614-478-5519.

The Golden Lions will hold their annual pops concert in the high school gymnasium at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct, 20.

"That is always a well-attended and fun concert," Cebriak said. "The freshman band joins us for a few numbers, and the color guard and Brian Foresi, our drum major, provide great visual entertainment. We will be inviting the school mascot, King Louie, and the cheerleaders to join us as well."

The season concludes with the senior-night show Oct. 27. This final home game is on a Thursday night, starting at 7 p.m., because it will be televised, Cebriak said. The band's show will include a piece chosen by the band's 60-member senior class and the annual "Script Lions," with a sousaphone player dotting the i, he said

District welcomes new superintendent

The school district begins the school year with a new superintendent, Steve Barrett, who previously was superintendent and curriculum director of the Kirtland Local Schools.

"I am excited to begin my first school year in Gahanna-Jefferson," he said. "I have enjoyed my first two weeks here, and I'm very impressed with the staff, our students and the community. Everyone has been incredibly welcoming."

Business manager Mark Williams said many improvements were made during the summer, thanks to taxpayers approving a 2.16-mill permanent improvements levy in November 2014.

In total, about 18 projects were completed in all 11 buildings, at a total cost of $3,645,875.

Digital security cameras have been placed in all buildings, and vehicle purchases have been made, including seven school buses.

The high school tennis courts have been resurfaced, Hamilton Hall received a chiller-compressor replacement, and the parking lot was repaved. The high school roof also partially was replaced.

The Middle School East parking lot was repaved and sidewalks repaired, and the first-floor HVAC was replaced at Middle School South. Track fencing also was replaced at South.

Middle School West has new windows and doors.

Blacklick Elementary School received updated air-conditioning controls.

At Goshen Lane and High Point elementary schools, parking lots were repaved and sidewalks repaired.

The transportation department was scheduled to receive a fueling station during the summer.

"These projects will help with student safety and provide them with an environment that will help them achieve their educational goals," Williams said. "A lot of these upgrades will help the district save money as we move forward, thus allowing us to make even more improvements."