Your thermostat may not recognize that summer is coming to an end, but the tell tale signs that strike fear into the hearts of children everywhere are certainly evident in Southeast Texas.

The start of school is just around the corner and area school districts are preparing for another successful year.

This week marked the beginning of an age-old Texas tradition, “2-a-days,” where high school athletes and their coaches suffer through the Texas heat to prepare for the upcoming season.

Josh Smalley, offensive coordinator at Bridge City, offered his thoughts on the tradition.

“All football coaches across the state have been waiting for this day to get here. We are no different here at Bridge City. We are excited about our kids and our chances this year. We will work hard to put a product on the field that represents our school and our community in a positive way and is something the people of Bridge City can be proud of. If we can get past these mosquitoes, we will be fine!”

Area teachers are also preparing for students by attending workshops and decorating classrooms.

Pam Caswell, kindergarten teacher at Orangefield Elementary, persuaded her husband Cecil to build a reading and listening loft in her classroom, over the summer. “These kids are like an extended family to me and I don’t mind giving up a good portion of the summer to create a better learning environment for them.”

Some residents may have heard the free outdoor concerts as band members from both Bridge City and Orangefield began practiced this week. Each school is excited about the positive changes from their new directors.

Still more signs of summer’s end are the school parking lots that were empty the past few months, but are now seeing traffic as parents enroll and register students for the upcoming year. Enrollment is projected to increase for both districts, but nothing will be official until the first few weeks of school.

Contractors remain busy working on Bridge City’s new elementary school, a result of Hurricane Ike’s damages.

Students will continue to use portable buildings this year, but should be in the new building by this time in 2011.

New teachers in Bridge City and Orangefield ISD will officially report to work on Aug. 9 and all returning teachers will return on the 12th, except for a few Bridge City elementary teachers who will report on the 16th. They will make up these days at the end of the year when they move into their new building.

Area students will officially return Monday, Aug. 23.