Drum beats lead the way to an unusual Monday morning parade in Oneida, Illinois.
That's where some 400 kids wear hard hats as they march by. First Grade teacher Jen Trone is in the group.
"That's our classroom," she pointed.
They're parading by the brand new ROWVA Elementary School. Entering the building for the first time, it's like getting an early holiday gift.
"I couldn't sleep last night," Trone said. "It was like Christmas morning."
It's even more fun to cut ribbons on classroom doors. For kids, it's also a chance to take it all in and find desks for the first time.
"Awesome," one youngster said.
This new school is more than just a building. It represents a new era of learning in this dedicated district.
The ROWVA district paid for the $10 million project with its one-cent sales tax. They were able to get it done without help from cash-strapped Illinois.
The school offers new security features like cameras and doors. Lighting and furniture showcase green designs in education. It's a bright place to be.
"We'll have one that's up to date, technology rich and ready to go," said Principal Nancy Hroziencik.
"One kid asked, 'Are we still in Oneida?'" added parent and school board president Kevin Erickson. "So, it's exciting."
It represents a major achievement for the consolidated district. The new school took just over a year to build and replaced a 90-year-old building.
"Now we are finally under one roof," said Assistant Principal Kerry Danner. "I think it's wonderful for the school district."
It's a great day for the ROWVA school community. Definitely, something to smile about.
"They'll remember this," Trone concluded. "It's a brand new school, and we're all together."
Together, class-by-class, for a new look at learning in Oneida.