LEROY — In preparation for the start of the new school year, Pine River School District students, staff and parents united Monday evening for a back-to-school celebration on the school’s football field.

The boys soccer, football, volleyball and cross country team players were announced by coaches, the high school band serenaded crowds and free food was served for everyone in attendance.

“This is the fourth year we’ve done this and every year it grows,” said Pine River School District superintendent Jim Ganger. “It’s just kind of a welcome back get-together.”

For junior varsity volleyball players Brittany Davis and Page Vanhulst, the celebration was a welcome beginning to the start of school. With summer vacations to Soak City and Cedar Point behind them, the sophomore students were ready to take on the new school year, complete with geometry classes, volleyball games and more.

Prior to the all-district celebration, students had the chance to visit their new classrooms and pick up their schedules at open houses at each of the school buildings.

“Some of them are transitioning from middle to high school or elementary to middle school, and this just gives them a chance to meet their teachers and get acquainted with the school,” Ganger said.

It’s the transitions and start of new opportunities that Pine River School Board president Jim Peterson said he always enjoys.

With a few new staff members, new students and old students growing and changing, Peterson said he looks forward to the beginning of school every year.

“It’s always exciting,” Peterson said, while the school’s new varsity football team was announced. “That’s one thing about schools, they always renew themselves.”

Pine River School District enrolls 1,160 students from Kindergarten to 12th grade. The majority of the students visited their school open houses, and many also came to the kick-off event. The 2012-13 school year starts on Tuesday.

Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from the back-to-school celebration.