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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Mollie Ohneck and her daughter Eva, 4, enjoy fun at the Botanical Conservatory on Sunday. On Monday, Eva will return to preschool and Ohneck returns to teaching at Carroll High School.
Relishing a last day of freedom

Students go back to school

Families savor downtown before classes resume

Many families spent the last days of spring break in downtown Fort Wayne, catching a TinCaps game, visiting the Allen County Public Library or perusing the latest exhibitions at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory.

Landon Rigsby-Treece, 8, spent Sunday visiting the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory with his mother, Shelli.

“We also went out to dinner and to the carwash,” said Rigsby-Treece, a student at Covington Elementary School.

The cheerful third-grader smiled and nodded, running a hand through his long, curly hair when asked if he had any homework assignments during spring break.

“A couple, but I got ’em done quickly,” he said, “and then I got to go and stay at my grandparents’ house in Marion for a few days.”

“Spring break is very important,” Rigsby-Treece said. “I have to get up every morning at 6 o’clock to go to school. It’s my only chance to sleep in.”

While Allen County students were ending their spring break and returning to school today, others’ breaks were just beginning.

The Kelsheimer family of Syracuse was also visiting the Botanical Conservatory Sunday, but it was the beginning of spring break for 10-year-old twins Clay and Joe and their sister Laurel, 10 – all students at Wawasee Community Schools.

Because they have relatives and grandparents in Fort Wayne, they stayed the weekend, enjoying a TinCaps game and visiting the Allen County Public Library.

“It was fun, but the TinCaps lost,” said Joe, a bespectacled mirror image of his identical twin.

But the boys and their sister differed on whether spring break was a necessity.

The snowy and harsh winter has caused a number of school corporations to lengthen the school day, extend the last day of school later into the summer or mandate Saturday school.

Although the Kelsheimer kids do not have Saturday school, the last day of school has been moved to June 4, pending no further school cancellations.

“I would rather skip spring break and get a longer summer vacation,” Clay said.

“I don’t care when we get a break, just so we get one,” Joe said.

“We have to have a spring break, because the kids get restless and ornery and crazy,” Laurel said. “They just need a break.”

Farther down the hall at the conservatory, Mollie Ohneck was also enjoying her last day of spring break with her two small children. Ohneck has been an English teacher at Carroll High School for the past 10 years.

Daughter Eva, 4, played inside the new dress-up castle – part of the High Places, Hidden Spaces-Make Your Own Adventure exhibit – while her 15-month-old brother, Enzo, and her mother waited patiently nearby.

The entire family, including dad, had spent part of spring break in Chicago visiting museums and swimming in the hotel pool, Ohneck said.

“This was kind of our last hurrah,” she said of their visit to the conservatory.

Students and teachers alike were anxious for spring break, given the long winter and the extended daytime hours of school, Ohneck said.

“We all welcomed spring break,” she said,” and the seniors were especially happy to have one last vacation before graduation.”

Ohneck enjoyed her break, but is anxious to get back to school, she said.

“This is such an exciting time of year for seniors,” she said. “We have prom and then graduation and other events and then it’s time for summer vacation.”