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      First year teacher, but in a familiar place

      Cody Scanlon is ready for his first day on the job.

      "I've always wanted to be a teacher," said Scanlon.

      The new third grade teacher is no stranger to his work environment--Lakeview Elementary School in Negaunee.

      "I've lived here my whole life," he said. "I love everything about the community here; it's a great place to grow up."

      Scanlon, now 24 years old, attended the elementary school a few years ago. Now, he is part of the staff.

      "In a time when schools are cutting programs and losing money, Negaunee's been able to do some pretty amazing things," Scanlon commented. "We've had a lot of 'school of choice' students move here, and we've had a lot of advancements in technology which makes it a very progressive district to work in."

      Scanlon is one of eight new teachers at Lakeview this year. Of course, the elementary school has changed since he was a student over a decade ago.

      "Pretty much all the teachers are different now. There's only three that are still here from when I was here," Scanlon said.

      Scanlon attended Northern Michigan University, receiving a degree in elementary education with specializations in science and social studies. His learning will continue throughout this year. He plans to use his more experienced colleagues as resources. Lakeview Kindergarten teacher Nikki Whitford has advice for Scanlon and other new teachers.

      "Plan for the unexpected," said Whitford. "Things come up on a moment's notice, and you just have to be on your toes, ready to think and come up with a different plan."

      Whitford has been teaching for ten years. She feels beginning teachers bring new energy to the school.

      "Young, fresh teachers, it kind of rejuvinates us," Whitford said. "We get fresh ideas from them, we can try new things. It's just exciting for everyone."

      That excitement has been building up for Scanlon for many years, but especially this summer.

      "As soon as I was allowed to be here, I think it was the 17th of July, I've been here almost every day, trying to move things around, trying to look through the curriculum," he said.

      Tuesday morning, Scanlon will jump right into getting to know his 28 students and building a strong community in his classroom.

      "I think that I'm definitely going to have to pinch myself on the first day because it's kind of hard to believe that the day's finally here," he said. "This is what I've always wanted to do. You know, circle of life, I'm back here where I started."