Happy to see summer finished

You can't really fault Ali Moraitis for wanting to go back to school. With family trips to New York, Oregon, San Francisco and Yosemite this summer, the 8-year-old from Modesto needs the rest.

Ali, at the Modesto farmers market on Saturday with her dad, Steve, said she is looking forward to starting fourth grade at Grace Lutheran school, which goes back into session Aug. 24.

Labor Day as the traditional end of summer vacation has all but become a myth. Schools in Oakdale, Riverbank, Salida and Denair returned to session last week. Other districts, including Turlock and Stanislaus Union, return this week, while traditional schedule schools in Modesto City and Sylvan Union, among others, go back Aug. 24.

Ali's dad, Steve Moraitis, said he is "definitely" ready for school to start.

"We've got to get back in the normal routine."

Getting back into the "normal routine" is one thing experts recommend as students and their parents prepare for the annual fall migration onto school campuses. That means getting school supplies together, sorting through clothes and, as one mom of two put it Saturday, "not letting the kids stay up until 1 a.m. anymore."

For Kristen and Martin Dempewolf, the late curfew isn't a problem.

"We're pretty strict at bedtimes," Kristen Dempewolf said Saturday afternoon as her children painted at the Art & Wine Festival in downtown Modesto. Her children go to bed at 8 p.m., whether school is in session or not. Part of that is because Mason, 6, and Karissa, 10, need a lot of sleep. "And Mom and Dad need a big break," she said.

Mason and Karissa said they were ready when their school, Summer Charter Academy, started on Monday. They had a full summer, with swimming and trips to Hawaii and Aptos, and looked forward to seeing their classmates.

"I'm learning a lot of things I need to know for high school," Karissa said.

Their mom said it was a little difficult because some of their friends have a longer summer vacation.

"When I was younger, we always went back after the (Labor Day) holiday," Kristen Dempewolf said.

If they had a little more time before going back to school, the Dempewolf children are clear on what they'd do with it:

"Sleep!" Karissa said.

"Swim!" Mason said.

Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at or 578-2343.